Senior Northumberland County Council officer suspended

The head of information services at Northumberland County Council has been suspended

Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth
Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth

A senior officer at Northumberland County Council has been suspended.

Steve Somerfield, head of information services at the authority, has been suspended without prejudice, The Journal has been told.

Figures from the authority show Mr Somerfield, who has held the post since 2010 and is thought to live outside of the region, to be on an annual salary of £90,000-94,999.

The council is refusing to give any details of why he has been suspended.

A spokeswoman said: “We are unable to comment on the circumstances of individual members of staff.”

The Journal understands an external audit has been ordered out of the information services department.

In addition an internal audit is to be carried out of its work streams and expenditure.

Mr Somerfield’s profile on professional social networking website LinkedIn meanwhile describes him as an “experienced IT management professional... with twenty plus years of experience working at a senior role in both the private and public sector.”

It tells how he has worked for a number of “blue chip companies” including ICL, Fujitsu, Steria and Capita.

The profile says Mr Somerfield has “operated at senior management levels with a large number of local authorities, driving both organisational and departmental change through the innovative use of I.T.”

Of his Northumberland post, it adds: “In my current role as head on information services (2010 to present) for Northumberland County Council, with responsibility for 105 staff including apprentices and with a revenue budget of over £10m, my role was to quickly turn a poorly performing I.S. operation into operational stability, to align IT to the wider business needs significantly reducing operational costs whilst improving the teams performance as demonstrated through national benchmarking KPI’s (key performance indicators.)”

Mr Somerfield has also previously been a chair of governors at a West Midlands college.


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