There are “no freeloaders” at Wiltshire Council, according to CEO Terence Herbert.

As he prepares his transition over to Surrey County Council in August, Terence has reflected upon the highs and lows of his career at Wiltshire Council.

He joined in 2011 and worked within children’s services until 2020, when he was appointed as chief executive.

He described the Covid pandemic as the period of his career that makes him most proud.

He said: “After the NHS, during Covid, it was local government that was doing all of the heavy lifting.

“It was local government that was supporting their residents, it was local government that was pouring out the business grants, that was helping schools.

“We had staff who were working with mortuaries, because that’s a local government responsibility.

“Personally, I was working 16 to 17-hour days, as were many of our staff, seven days a week.

“And the belief is that we only do potholes or collect bins.

“We deliver 500 different services, the people here are really committed, but it’s easy to knock the council, because people are wilfully ignorant about it, about what we do.”

He explained that this public perception was one of the most difficult aspects of working within the council.

He said: “The biggest challenge that we have is a complete lack of understanding and appreciation from large elements of our population about how committed, dedicated, hard-working, and stressful of a job people in local government have.”

He added: “Everybody who works here, they do it because they care about their community, and they care about the residents.

“There are no free loaders at Wiltshire Council, nobody’s here for an easy ride.

“We all challenge ourselves day in, day out, to do something different.”

Nevertheless, according to Herbert, the hardest part of directing an organisation like Wiltshire Council is “being expected to do more with less.”

Despite being in a relatively good position compared to other local authorities, the council is not spared from the widespread financial pressures faced by local governments.

Mr Herbert classed his staff as “incredibly successful” in helping Wiltshire Council to become “a much more financially stable organisation, which is in stark contrast to many others.”

Reflecting on the few months he has left in his role, the CEO said he would miss “building a team” the most.

He concluded: “The biggest achievement of my career is helping to build the culture and a team of excellent employees who exhibit all of the behaviours and the values and the expertise of people who work in the public sector.”