Former Salford City Council director receives MBE for helping local people

A former director at Salford City Council has been awarded the prestigious Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday honours.   

Debbie Brown was a Strategic Director for Service Reform and received the award for her time at the council where she helped ensure the council put people at the heart of everything the council does, listening to local people’s voices and shaped services to meet their needs.                                    

Debbie Brown, smiling

During her career she worked with the Good Things Foundation – the UK’s leading digital and social inclusion organisation - to help those who lacked digital skills to get online and access core services.

In total over 10,000 Salfordians were given skills to transact online and 30,000 people to get access to digital support. More than 2,000 devices and connectivity packages were gifted to local residents.

Debbie also played a lead role in the council’s Better Off approach, to give more opportunities to local people. Better Off Salford has helped thousands of people with support for benefits and employment with information easily available via The project has supported residents with more than £20milion of help.

In addition, her Poverty Truth Commission work was nationally recognised, winning a Municipal Journal Award in 2018 for delivering better outcomes. This work was also instrumental in abolishing burial and cremation fees for children under 16 to ease the financial burden on bereaved families.
Debbie said: “I am deeply honoured and thrilled to have been recognised in this way. It's testament to the hard work, energy and commitment from teams and elected members across the council and a fantastic community and voluntary sector in the city that enabled everything that was achieved.”

Debbie worked at the council for more than 30 years, progressing to Strategic Director for Service Reform in 2017. She retired from the city council in 2023, and has recently been appointed as Director of Saford Credit Union to continue her work to support residents in the city and the anti-poverty agenda.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “I am delighted that Debbie Brown has been recognised in the Kings Honour’s List for her dedication and service over many years to Salford City Council, our city, its people, communities and local businesses.

Debbie played a significant role in the direction of the city and city council, from improving the council’s digital inclusion and innovation within the city, working in partnership with our university and hospital to helping develop the city council’s long-standing strategic relationship with our Credit Union. Importantly, Debbie was also the senior officer participant in the city’s first Poverty Truth Commissioner and as a commissioner utilised this experience to transform services within the city council, while also informing our pioneering work on tackling poverty. 

Significantly, I had the privilege of working with Debbie under the previous Directly Elected Mayor, Ian Stewart, which saw Salford City Council become the first accredited Living Wage Local Authority in Greater Manchester, while also developing our groundbreaking Employment Standards Charter work at the city council. Debbie’s industrial and employee relations work was also latterly acknowledged by Mayor Burnham and the Combined Authority when Debbie was asked to be the industrial relations lead within Greater Manchester, supporting our important work with the trade unions in the city-region. More recently, Debbie helped lead the Salford Women and Girls’ Commission, which will have a lasting and positive impact on gender equality for Salford for years to come.

I am humbled and privileged to have been involved with Team Salford to witness and support Debbie’s progress within local government and the city of Salford. It’s been an honour to have worked alongside Debbie for many years, Debbie epitomises the best in local government, reflecting the public sector ethos in all that she did and continues to do now she’s ‘retired’. Her work leaves a remarkable legacy in the city council, City of Salford and across Greater Manchester.”

Tom Stannard, Chief Executive at Salford City Council said: “A huge thank you goes to Debbie for her hard for work local people. She championed numerous initiatives that are helping to break down the digital divide and help residents to access digital tools and resources that are vital to succeed and save money in these times.

“Her dedication and commitment have been about making sure everybody has an opportunity and as a result of that some of the most vulnerable residents in the city are no longer left behind.

“Debbie certainly deserves this award – one of the unsung heroes of local government who gave her career to making a huge difference that will be felt for years and years to come.”

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Date published
Monday 17 June 2024

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