Joanna Killian
Joanna Killian
Chief Executive
Surrey CC

When Joanna was appointed Chief Executive of Surrey County Council in 2018, the organisation was on the brink of financial ruin. Joanna has led from the front in the design and delivery of a major transformation programme, in order to address SCC's financial challenge. The culture has since changed from one where the blame for financial struggles lay elsewhere, to one where everyone knows it is their responsibility to deliver high standards of financial management and to deliver within the available budget. This has been reflected in financial performance with outturns delivered within budget, reserves increased after years of being reduced, and financial stability re-established. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Joanna became a joint chair of the Strategic Co-ordinating Group (SCG) for the Local Resilience Forum. Joanna oversaw the strategic operation of the LRF providing food, medicines, befriending services and contact to thousands of vulnerable Surrey residents, particularly during the lockdown periods. The LRF also delivered over 11 million items of PPE to various care settings across the county. Joanna was also strategically involved in organising the delivery of Track and Trace, the vaccination programme and the set-up of the NHS Seacole COVID Recovery Hospital and temporary mortuary at Headley Court. Prior to joining SCC, Joanna worked at KPMG, where she led relationships with local and regional government, advising clients on how they could transform their organisations, and work more innovatively with their customers and citizens. Joanna and her teams worked on some innovative devolution and public service reform programmes in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and in the South West. Joanna worked with top teams to rethink their strategic ambition and agree new approaches to address the challenges and opportunities that the public sector faces, including with a county council, as well as a group of health organisations. Joanna has more than 30 years’ experience in the public sector and has deep experience in delivering transformational change, cost reduction and service improvement. She has expertise in achieving improved outcomes through partnerships as well as across public sector systems. She has worked on leadership, governance and corporate reform programmes and is skilled in working in complex political systems. Joanna joined KPMG in 2015 from Essex County Council, where she was the Chief Executive for nearly 9 years. She is known for her innovative approach to public sector reform and as CEO she implemented, for example, the first social impact bond in local government; developed a community budgets approach to public service delivery; as well as designing creative models to achieve community resilience and social value. Joanna started her career in social housing and regeneration- she has deep knowledge and expertise in these fields.