WIRRAL’S new chief executive says it is important to have a period of “listening, learning and talking” to make sure the authority has a plan to help the borough progress further.

In his first message to council workers, Eric Robinson - who formally took up post on April 7 – said he wants to understand what the authority needs to do for the people of Wirral.

He said: “My passion has always been about enabling people to reach their full potential - making sure vulnerable people have the best life they can and are as independent and as integrated into society as they possibly can be.

“I’ve carried that passion with me since I started out as a social worker in the 80s and it’s still with me now as chief executive in Wirral.”

Mr Robinson, who was formerly deputy chief executive and director for people at Staffordshire County Council, said he believes that “by working with our partners and our communities we improve outcomes for everybody”.

Prior to joining Staffordshire County Council in 2005, Mr Robinson was director of social services at Cambridgeshire County Council, and before that, was director of social services at the London Borough of Enfield.

The father-of-three has also worked as assistant director at Knowsley Council.

Mr Robinson, originally from Liverpool and a keen supporter of the Reds, says being in Wirral is “to find myself coming back to my roots”, having spent many happy days visiting New Brighton with his parents as a child.

Although he has only been in post for a few weeks, Mr Robinson will quickly have to come to grips with overseeing multi-million pound cuts in the council’s budget and a major “modelling” of staffing structures and salary scales to reduce spending.

In his message to staff, he said: “I’m very much in listening mode at the moment. I want to really understand from you, and our partners, what we need to be doing for the people of Wirral.

“The council has made huge strides in recent years – this was recognised with the recent ‘Most Improved Council’ award – and I know these improvements wouldn’t have been possible without your hard work and tireless efforts.

“But we all know there is more work to do, there is more money to save and there will be more changes afoot. I know the change process takes its toll on staff but I hope to reassure you that I’ve not arrived here with a blueprint that I plan to impose on the organisation; quite the opposite.

“It is important to me to have a period of listening, learning and talking to make sure we have a plan for council and the borough to help us progress further.”

Mr Robinson plans to visit different teams around the council to gain a better understanding of what is important to them.

Although currently living in Manchester, Mr Robinson says he plans to move closer to Wirral in the coming months.

He ended his message by saying: “It’s clear that I have a strong workforce dedicated to serving the people of Wirral. I look forward to meeting many of you and hearing your ideas on how we can take the council, and the borough forward for the future.”

The authority advertised for a new chief executive to replace Graham Burgess, who retired at the end of last year.

But Mr Robinson will earn more than his predecessor, with the authority boosting the pay to £175,000 to attract the best person for the job.