Headlines: June 19th, 1997

Genie Turton has taken over from Robin Young as the new Director of the Government Office for London. The Office brings together the London regional offices of the Departments of Trade and Industry, the Department for Education and Employment (Training Enterprise and Education Directorate) and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Robin Young becomes Head of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat at the Cabinet Office.This is a critical time for London as the finishing touches are being made to the Government’s plans for a new strategic authority and mayor. Both initiative will be watched closely to see how well the two pronged approach to creating greater coherence succeeds. The proposal for a mayor is seen as a threat to local government by many, but others view it as an opportunity to expand democracy and accountability at a local level across a wide range of services. The challenge for London is to find a way in which the mayor could operate across all agencies: councils, quangos, and national government departments. The Director of the London Government office has a vital role to play in responding to this challenge.

Gene Turton, who is a Londoner by adoption, said: “I have lived and worked in London for 25 years. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work with other Londoners, local authorities and other London organisations on the new agenda for the capital. I look forward to building on Robin Young’s good work.”

She joined the Ministry of Transport in 1970 following research at the University of Cambridge. She held a number of posts in the Ministry, including a spell as Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Transport from 1978 to 1980. She was seconded to Midland Bank International from 1981 to82 and to the Cabinet Office (Machinery of Government Division) from 1982 to 1985. She was an Under Secretary in the Department of the Environment from 1986 to 1991 and a Deputy Secretary there from 1991 to 1994, responsible for the Urban and Countryside group. During her time at the DOE she was responsible for the development of private funding for housing. She has been Director of the Charter Programme (Cabinet Office) since July 1994.