Eileen Milner will become the chief executive her local combined authority when she leaves the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority announced today that the senior civil servant will take up the position in the autumn.

Its board voted unanimously on the appointment on June 30, the same day that FE Week revealed Milner had told staff that the “time has come” for her to “go to a new challenge”.

Milner, who is based in the greater Cambridge area, was appointed to lead the ESFA in 2017 shortly after the organisation formed through the merger of the Education Funding Agency and Skills Funding Agency.

She said she was “delighted and honoured” to have been appointed into the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. She will earn just over £200,000 annually as its chief executive.

“The area covered by the combined authority is an extraordinary one, rich in history, talent, innovation and opportunity and I am excited to join an organisation that has such an important remit in respect of making our area the very best place to live, work, invest and learn,” she added.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Nik Johnson, described Milner as an “outstanding, experienced individual”.

“She is a dedicated and determined public servant and will be challenged to help me continue to embed the 3Cs of Compassion, Co-operation and Community in the delivery of our projects and to help improve the lives of everyone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,” he said.

Milner joined the ESFA from the Care Quality Commission, where she was an executive director. According to her profile on the government’s website, she started her career in local government, specialising in education services, before moving into higher education.

A recruitment process for Milner’s successor at the ESFA has not yet been launched.

Following the news of Milner’s departure, ESFA chair Irene Lucas-Hayes said today: “Eileen has been responsible for successfully overseeing billions of pounds worth of funding into the education and skills system and delivering on its promise, as a funding agency, to ensure year-on-year funding is delivered on time and with accuracy, including throughout the past year during the pandemic.

“I, and her colleagues at ESFA, have welcomed and very much appreciated Eileen’s measured and calm approach, and her authentic communications and leadership style. I truly believe that Eileen has led the ESFA with great skill and competency and it has been a pleasure working with her.”

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