Policy Board

Policy Spokesperson on Economic Development & Housing

Martin Swales

Solace: Team Member Photo


Policy Spokesperson on Economic Development & Housing

Martin Swales
Chief Executive
South Tyneside Council


The Policy Spokesperson on Economic Prosperity & Housing provides a lead on this policy area for the Society. They also lead the relevant Policy Network


In 2012, Martin Swales was appointed Solace Spokesperson for Economic Development and Housing, representing Local Government Chief Executives and Senior Managers with Central Government, business and the media.

Martin Swales has served as Chief Executive of South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council since 2010. Working with the Leader of the Council and Elected Members, he has led the Council through comprehensive change with a relentless focus on resident priorities to improve the provision of public services; investing in town centres, education, housing and urban regeneration, whilst driving generation changing economic growth to raise prosperity and employment in communities.

In October 2017 South Tyneside Council was recognised by an externally appointed Local Government Association Corporate Peer Challenge as a “High Performing Council with many outstanding features”. The review described South Tyneside as, “leading the way in transforming services and outcomes…” and recommended the Council “use this experience to influence the future shaping of Local Government and service delivery”. The Corporate Peer Challenge acknowledged “the inspirational and longstanding political and managerial leadership provided by the Leader and Chief Executive” as a core strength and a key ingredient to the successful delivery of the Council’s ambitions.

In November 2017 an Ofsted inspection of South Tyneside Council’s Children’s Services and Local Safeguarding Children’s Board reported that the services provided to children, young people and families are “Good”, with the Adoption service identified as “Outstanding”. Inspectors concluded that, “the pace of change is impressive” and that “senior leaders in South Tyneside are ambitious and have been effective in securing swift improvements to the quality of services for children and families”. As a result, the Department for Education invited South Tyneside Council to join their ‘Partners in Practice’ Sector Led Improvement Programme, to support other local authorities’ Children’s Services improvement journey, sharing innovative practice and informing national policy.

Economic growth and regeneration underpin South Tyneside’s Council’s vision for a prosperous South Tyneside and Martin has initiated and led extensive economic regeneration projects in the North East region. In partnership with Sunderland City Council, Martin continues to drive the development and implementation of the IAMP, an International Advanced Manufacturing Park and one of the North East's most significant economic growth projects. Creating over 5,200 new, skilled jobs for the region in the first phase, IAMP obtained the Government’s ‘National Significant Infrastructure Project’ status, the first UK employment project nationally to receive this.

Regionally, Martin is Principal Adviser to Newcastle International Airport Board, advising the seven Local Authority Leaders as 51% shareholders and managing the relationship with 49% shareholder AMP Global Capital. South Tyneside Council is the Administering Authority for the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund and as Chief Executive, Martin has Lead Officer responsibility for the £8.4bn Fund and has supported the establishment of the Border to Coast Pension Partnership, which will oversee the investment of pension assets with a value of c.£43bn.

Nationally, Martin plays a lead role in the North East relationship with the Department for International Trade, working with the LEP in the development of the Northern Powerhouse.