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Margaret Lee

2 August 2016


Executive Director for Corporate and Customer Services


Telephone: 03330 134558



Functional Area: Corporate Services
Salary: £150,000
Job Description: Executive Director for Corporate Services



Margaret returned to Essex County Council in 1990 following a five-year career break and is currently the Executive Director for Corporate Services. 


Performing a key role in the organisation, Margaret works closely with the Chief Executive and other Directors to ensure that ECC can efficiently and effectively meet its key objectives. Margaret is the statutory Section 151 Officer for ECC and is accountable for the professional functions relating to Finance, Governance of ECC, Property Strategy, Business Intelligence, Business Support, Audit, Risk Management and Corporate Operations which incorporates transactional back office functions, including payroll and purchase to pay.  She is also the S151 Officer for the Essex Pension Fund, which provides pension services to over 500 employers.


Previously she was the Executive Director for Finance and had responsibility for Finance (Strategy and Management), Legal Services, Procurement, Governance, Coroners, Performance, Audit and Risk Management.


The majority of her career has been at Essex County Council, where she has held many roles. Most notably she led the implementation of the general ledger and related finance systems, saw through the safe independence of colleges from the authority, and held the post of Head of Finance for Social Services before moving to corporate finance roles, becoming the statutory Chief Financial Officer (Section 151 Officer) in 2007.
At a national level, she is an active member of the Society of County Treasurers (SCT) and has served as its children’s representative for the Local Government Group working with the Department for Education on policy development.


More recently she has been appointed to be an SCT Core Advisor to the Local Government Association. She also sits on the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Local Government Policy Review Panel.
Margaret also sits on the Department of Communities and Local Government Systems Design Group for the Local Government Resource Review.


Locally, she is a member of the Improvement East Finance Directors group and the Essex Finance Officers Association.


  • Margaret has accountability for the finance function (budgeting, treasury & investments, financial analysis, external finance and funding, audit, etc.), ensuring proper administration of the Council’s financial affairs and advising the Chief Executive and other Directors on budget and financial planning strategies.
  • As the statutory Section151 Officer for ECC, Margaret has accountability to ensure financial best practice is followed in all ECC activity.
  • Margaret is responsible for the Monitoring Officer functions of ECC to ensure governance and probity in all activity.
  • Her responsibilities also include:

                 - ECC Health & Safety, audit activities, and the protection of ECC from financial and governance risk.
                 - The administration of the Essex Pension Fund.

                 - Driving the Business Intelligence strategy and its delivery for the organisation to enable ECC to make smart, timely and effective decisions.
                 - Providing legal and financial advice to all business decisions to ensure all immediate and longer term opportunities, risks and implications are fully considered.
                 - Working with the Executive Directors and Directors to understand their property requirements to meet outcomes, formulating and executing a property strategy to meet these requirements ensuring that the property assets of ECC are fully utilised or disposed of where no longer needed.           


  • Margaret ensures that the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and probity are maintained and that all systems and processes comply with Council policy, practice, procedures, governance and financial regulations, including the Scrutiny Officer role.
  • Through provision and management of Corporate Services functions (transactional finance and procurement and business support), Margaret promotes business process improvements and ensures the effective use of corporate processes to deliver more economic, effective and efficient back office services.
  • Margaret ensures that Members receive appropriate support to execute their duties.
  • Margaret provides leadership for the consolidation of business and operational support to the organisation, improving efficiency and effectiveness.
Declaration of interest:
Gifts and hospitality:
Mileage and expenses: