Managing Director and Executive Directors

Biographies of the Managing Director and Executive Directors of Norfolk County Council.
Dr Wendy Thomson, Managing DirectorDr Wendy Thomson joined Norfolk County Council in August 2014, where she has established a new senior management structure and appointed a new senior leadership team. 

As local government faces the challenge of additional responsibilities with less money, Norfolk’s strategy is to ‘re-imagine’ its role and ways of delivering services. 

Wendy is an experienced leader who has managed large scale system change, having worked with politicians in the UK and internationally. 

In the UK, Wendy was former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Chief Adviser and led the Office of Public Service Reform in the Cabinet Office. She was founding Chief Executive of the Leadership Centre for Local Government, founding Director of the Best Value Inspection service at the Audit Commission, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Newham and Deputy Chief Executive of the London Borough of Islington. 

As Chair and Professor at McGill University, Wendy led the School of Social Work, and she is a well-known expert on public service reform. She has advised governments in Canada, Africa, Europe and the Middle East and was awarded a CBE in 2005 for her contribution to public service reform.
Tom McCabe, Executive Director Community and Environmental ServicesTom has held similar roles in Shropshire and Cheshire. 

Tom’s remit ranges from libraries to economic development; highways to Fire and Rescue; recycling centres to customer services. The focus is on tailoring services to needs of local communities, and working with partners to ensure value for money. 

Previously Tom has worked for a number of county, city and unitary councils including Kent, Lancashire and Liverpool.

Matt’s role is a statutory one, leading a department which combines children’s social care with support to deliver excellence in education countrywide.

As well as serving as a highly successful Director of Children’s Services in East Sussex for eight years – for which he was awarded his CBE – Matt is also a past President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

Passionate about improving outcomes for children and with experience of working alongside Ofsted and the Department for Education at National level, Matt joined the County Council in February 2017. Before that he spent three and a half years working in Australia, for the State Government of Victoria. As part of his work there Matt established the first ever Virtual School for Children in Care in Australia.

Following an announcement on 24 July, Sara Tough will be taking over the role of Executive Director at the end of October - view the press release.


Simon George, Executive Director FinanceSimon joined Norfolk County Council in May 2015 from the London Borough of Harrow where he was Director of Finance and Assurance. Simon joined Harrow from Ealing Council, where he had a similar role for 8 years. 

Simon’s primary role is to ensure the council’s long-term financial health and his remit includes the Budget and financial management, audit, pensions, and making the most of our property assets. 

Prior to this he worked at the BBC for 10 years in senior finance roles across TV, radio and new media. Simon was part of the launch team of the multi award winning BBC News Online. 

Before his appointment at Norfolk County Council, Simon was chair of the Board of Trustees at the Norfolk children’s charity Break.

James Bullion took up the role of Executive Director of Adult Social Services in January 2017. His role is to develop and transform services in a department responsible for spending almost £1m day to improve the lives of vulnerable adults in the county.

For the previous two years he had been Director of Adult Operations at Essex County Council, which he joined in 2013 as a Director for Commissioning. During his time in Essex, he oversaw some major developments in the fast-moving world of adult social care, including the implementation of the Care Act and a new case management system, at the same time as leading Adult Operations through a major restructure to reconnect frontline teams with the communities they serve.

Under his leadership, Essex forged stronger links with the health service, including the introduction of ‘Good Lives’ in adult social care –  an approach which is receiving national recognition as an innovative response to the challenges facing the sector, by creating a new relationship between professionals and people who need support.

James is also the national Director lead for Social Care and Justice for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the regional ADASS lead for workforce and leadership development.