Thursday, September 24, 2015

News: Rotherham Council chief exec job readvertised


Rotherham Council, currently under the leadership of Government-appointed commissioners, is looking for a "high-energy and high-performing leader" to become its new chief executive.

Triggered by a report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham that described how vulnerable children have been repeatedly failed by the Council, the February 2015 Casey report highlighted significant governance weaknesses. Specifically it reported that the authority was not fit of purpose and failing in its legal obligation to secure continuous improvement in the way in which it exercises its functions.

As part of a subsequent intervention package announced by then Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, commissioners have been appointed who now provide new leadership, taking over the roles of the "wholly dysfunctional" cabinet, which promptly resigned when the report was published.

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

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.

A new council structure has been finalised as part of the work lead by commissioners which 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.
The Council tendered for a consultancy to provide "Executive Search, Assessment and Recruitment to Senior Management Posts" and recruitment of senior posts is likely to continue through to March 2016.

The advert for the new chief executive put together by Hays Recruitment, reads: "Rotherham people are warm, engaging and community spirited. Fiercely proud of their borough and its heritage, they have needed tremendous strength and resilience to deal with the many challenges of the recent past.

"Commissioners, councillors and employees are working to deal with the mistakes of the past and make the Council fit for the future. We need the very best people for the long-term leadership team to drive change for the better.

"Come and be the beating heart of Rotherham, working with communities and partners to support children and young people and build a place which nurtures pride and confidence."

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.

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.

Employing nearly 7,000 staff and spending nearly £900m per year, the authority estimates a "budget challenge" of £41m - where further savings will need to be made.

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: "In the last six months great progress has been made at the Council through a combination of hard work from substantive Rotherham employees, a group of committed interim staff, the Commissioners and determined councillors. I should also mention our many valued partners in other parts of the public sector, the voluntary sector and colleagues in business.

"As we work to transform the culture of the council, we need senior staff who are hands on and as determined as we are."

However, in writing to the Secretary of State on the progress made in the first six months, Sir Derek Myers, lead commissioner at Rotherham Council (pictured, left), warned: "The Council has many holes in its senior officer ranks with only one permanent chief officer and the director of public health in post; no monitoring officer in post and weaknesses and gaps in many other key positions.

"We want to recruit to 20 posts by December 2015. Currently 45% of the top three tiers of staff are currently vacant or covered by interim appointments. Most of these are likely to be external appointments. Together with the addition of a further 29 new children's worker posts, this is a double decker bus full of talent that we need to lure to Rotherham.

"Rotherham may not be an obvious career move for some possible candidates. In short, we may not be able to appoint to both social work and general management vacancies."

Rotherham Council website

Images: RMBC


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