John Coughlan CBE has been Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council since November 2015 and is responsible for managing the third largest shire authority in England serving 1.3 million residents and running a budget of around £1.9 billion. Prior to 2015, John was Hampshire’s Director of Children’s Services from 2005 to 2015. Before that he held a variety of senior roles in the West Midlands.
In 2008, John was urgently appointed by the Secretary of State to be Interim Director of Children’s Services in the London Borough of Haringey, in order to bring stability to that authority in the aftermath of the ‘Baby P’ child protection crisis. In 2013, again subject to a Secretary of State Direction, John was appointed as the permanent Director of Children’s Services for the Isle of Wight Council through a unique partnership which has seen Hampshire take responsibility for schools and children's services on the island. In 2016, Hampshire took on an improvement role with Torbay Council, with John acting as Children’s Commissioner on behalf of DfE. As that role draws to a close Hampshire, through John and with Steve Crocker, has now undertaken an equivalent role with Buckinghamshire County Council.
John was awarded a CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list, in recognition of his work for children’s services.
In a personal capacity but with HCC’s support, John has recently taken on the role of Chair of BookTrust, a national children’s reading charity.