NEW Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth has today unveiled his cabinet of senior councillors, retaining many of Keith Mitchell’s team in their senior posts.

Mr Hudspeth was formally installed as leader of the council today, following his election last month to succeed Mr Mitchell at the head of the ruling Conservative group.

He then named his cabinet, with the majority retaining their portfolios from Mr Mitchell’s regime:

Councillor Rodney Rose continues as cabinet member for Transport but also assumes the role of Deputy Leader of the Council. His portfolio also includes property and facilities.

Councillor Louise Chapman is cabinet member for Children and the Voluntary Sector - including the successful Big Society Fund.

Councillor Melinda Tilley is cabinet member for Education. Her previous title was cabinet member for Schools Improvement.

Councillor Arash Fatemian retains the role of cabinet member for Adult Services - this includes adult social care but will also encompass public health both before and after its official move to local government from the health sector in 2013.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat remains cabinet member for Safer and Stronger Communities. Her responsibilities include Fire and rescue; trading standards; emergency planning; community services (travellers; adult learning; libraries, cultural services; The Registration Service).

Councillor Kieron Mallon will now assume the role of cabinet member for Finance and Police - including overseeing the council's finances as well as liaison with the local police.

There are, however, two promotions.

Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles takes on the role of cabinet member for Growth and Infrastructure - this includes areas such as strategic planning within Oxfordshire; minerals strategy; waste management; environmental management.

Councillor Nick Carter takes on the role of cabinet member for Customer Service, a portfolio that includes customer services; communications; ICT; and support to small to medium sized enterprises in the county.

Mr Hudspeth has also retained the system of a cabinet member acting as liaison with the district councils.

Mr Hudspeth will act as liaison with Oxford City Council and Oxford City Local Strategic Partnership Mr Rose will act as liaison with West Oxfordshire District Council and West Oxfordshire Local Strategic Partnership Mr Mallon will act as liaison with Cherwell District Council and Cherwell Local Strategic Partnership Mr Carter will act as liaison with South Oxfordshire District Council and South Oxfordshire Local Strategic Partnership Mr Heathcoat will act as liaison with the Vale of White Horse District Council and the Vale of White Horse Local Strategic Partnership.

Mr Hudspeth said: "All of the new cabinet members are looking to the future with optimism and energy as well as a pragmatic sense of realism and honesty about the task ahead, particularly given the financial pressures that exist in local government and the wider public sector.

"The cabinet will contain a mixture of experience of dealing with the huge array of services that the county council provides for the people of Oxfordshire as well as new faces who are looking forward to the challenge and who are keen to embark on their new roles.

"This is a hugely exciting time for everybody at the council. We all have the chance to build on the sterling work and achievements of Councillor Keith Mitchell and Councillor David Robertson and move the council in to a new era. We are all aware that we take on a positive legacy thanks to the hard work and common sense approach that our predecessors brought."