How do they do it? Jon Berry

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 20 Oct 2014

Jon Berry

Jon Berry joined Bolton Council from college after graduating in town and country planning at Sheffield Hallam University in 2000. While working for Bolton, Berry undertook a diploma in management studies at the University of Central Lancashire, to help him climb the career ladder at the local authority.

Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them? 

My key objective is to lead, manage, develop and deliver strategies for the council in planning and building control. I have to respond to market opportunities and meet ever-changing needs of investors and visitors as well as residents and businesses while meeting the council's objective of fostering economic prosperity. In terms of measures, we have a service delivery framework and strategy and I have reviews with the chief planning and housing officer, the director of development and regeneration and executive members on how we are meeting the strategy in terms of service improvements.

Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives? 

A Always be positive and proactive.
This career is about improving the quality of people's lives and to do that – and be successful - you must be a born optimist.

Good results come from a shared vision. A shared vision, not just within a division or department but across the council, is more likely to lead to success: we recently persuaded the planning committee to agree to one of the largest regenerations in the north - 77 hectares, 1,700 homes, 4.5 hectares of employment land – and we couldn't have done it without a shared vision.

Never stop trying to develop stronger working relationships. This includes with residents and businesses as well as staff and councillors: it is an essential ingredient to creating better projects and achieving community buy-in.