Councillor Marie Tidball, Board Member for Supporting Local Communities, who represents Hinksey Park, will be taking maternity leave from her City Executive Board role at the end of July.
Council Leader, Councillor Susan Brown has announced that Councillor Christine Simm, who represents Cowley Ward, will join the City Council’s Executive Board to cover Councillor Tidball’s portfolio responsibilities during her leave of absence.
This will be the first time a serving Executive Board member has taken maternity leave – at least in the modern era of the Council.
Earlier this year, the Council voted unanimously to amend its constitution to provide maternity pay, as part of a commitment to support inclusion among elected representatives.
The recommendations for this change were put forward by the Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel, comprising Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University; Kathy Shaw, Chief Executive, Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action; and Prisca Bradley, Director, Hedges Law.
Councillor Tidball will receive half of the Special Responsibility Allowance to which she is entitled for a period of up to six months.
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the Council, said: “As we shortly give Marie and her partner our best wishes as she looks forward to having her baby, I’m delighted that we have been able to introduce proper arrangements for maternity and adoption leave for elected members commensurate with that which would be expected of any good employer. One third of our councillors are women, and half of the Executive Board, and we want to continue to strengthen the diversity of our members to ensure we fully reflect the many communities we serve in Oxford.
“I’m also pleased that Christine Simm will be returning to the Executive Board to provide maternity cover for Marie. Christine’s experience as former portfolio holder for Communities will provide continuity in our work to champion community cohesion and diversity, support social and financial inclusion and help meet the needs of young people across the city.”
Councillor Marie Tidball, whose baby is due in August, said: “In the year that we celebrate the centenary of women's suffrage, I'm proud that Oxford City Council has taken this progressive step to support the maternity rights of women councillors. This is an important way of ensuring women can continue to be involved in politics whilst managing the responsibilities of being a new parent. I am grateful to Christine Simm for taking on my maternity cover while I am on leave from the CEB role.”
Councillor Tidball will be continuing with her ward responsibilities, supported by fellow Hinksey Park Councillor Alex Donnelly.
Councillor Simm will receive a Special Responsibility Allowance for the period she serves as a member of the City Executive Board.