Friday, June 26, 2015

News: Head hunters to help find new bosses at Rotherham Council

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Rotherham Council is to begin its search for top level staff, including a new permanent chief executive, with the help of executive "head hunters."

A new council structure is being finalised as part of the work lead by commissioners appointed by the Government to provide new leadership and take on all executive functions of the authority.

Previous chief executive Martin Kimber announced that he would step down in September 2014, with the announcement coming two weeks after the publication of a damning independent inquiry from Alexis Jay into child sexual exploitation in the borough. Jan Ormondroyd, previously chief executive at Bristol City Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council and deputy chief executive in Hull, took on the role on an interim basis from November 3.

A statutory inspection of Rotherham Council was undertaken at the request of the Government by Louise Casey. It reported in February of a "complete failure of political and officer leadership in Rotherham."

Commissioner Stella Manzie CBE is acting in a managing director role – similar to that of a chief executive. She is the only commissioner employed to work full time at the authority and the role comes with a fee of £160,000 per annum to be paid on a pro rata monthly basis.

Global HR services group, Penna was brought in by the Council to find a permanent chief executive at the end of 2014 but the recruitment process was halted when the commissioners were parachuted in.

Consultation on a revised management structure has been completed and now the Council has begun the tender process for a recruitment firm to help recruit seven senior management posts.

The executive "head hunters" could cost the Council up to £100,000.

Commissioner Manzie said at a recent public meeting that the first advertising of posts is set for the end of July, recruiting from the end of August to the end of year.

Priority has been given to the new strategic director of adult social care and assistant directors, which includes a new role on community safety. A new assistant chief executive role (with responsibility for HR, communications and democratic services) is required and recruitment for a permanent chief executive is likely to continue through to March 2016.

Commissioner Manzie said: "Recruiting senior posts is not a quick process but we will be moving forward as quick as we can."

The new structure involves creating a new directorate called Community Well-being and Housing and creating the senior posts of strategic director finance and corporate services and assistant chief executive. A number of new assistant director posts are also proposed.

As one of the borough's biggest employers the Council has an annual gross income and expenditure of over £700m. A recent update on the three year financial strategy estimates a "budget challenge" of £41m - where further savings will need to be made.

The Council has previously approved salary levels of £160,000 for the chief executive and £113,384 for strategic directors. It has also approved the use of additional market supplements - additional financial incentives to attract suitable applicants to senior managerial positions in Rotherham. The use of a market supplement was approved for the appointment of the interim director of Children's Services, Ian Thomas.

Should it be identified that a market supplement is necessary to recruit to a specific chief officer post, it is proposed that this principle of a maximum of an additional payment of up to 25% of the annual salary and other payments could be applied. Any salary package for any post that is in excess of £100,000 will be considered by full Council.

Rotherham Council website

Images: RMBC

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