Council Senior Management Recruitment
The Chief Executive and Leader of the Council will be at the meeting to answer members questions on this issue, following a request made at the committee meeting in May 2013.
At the previous One Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee members requested further information regarding the Senior Management restructure particularly in terms of the political vision and the practical arrangements of the restructure. Christine Gilbert, Interim Chief Executive, informed the Committee that the political vision of the restructure was set out in the report of the General Purposes Committee and highlighted the need to have a slimmer, more strategic and focused senior management which would also save costs. The Interim Chief Executive continued to highlight the need to work in partnership and more directly with local people to address what was important to the residents of Brent. To enable this, the new posts would have a greater strategic role and allow the Council to work collaboratively by having a more outward facing role. It is intended that the Strategic Director posts should operate in a strategic framework that was flexible and robust with a greater role in community engagement to meet the changing needs of local government. Following queries, it was clarified that the Strategic Directors may not have specific expertise in all the areas they would be responsible for although it was stressed that operational directors would still have service specific knowledge and expertise. It was clarified that each role would be required to have greater communication and community engagement responsibilities and the new structure would enable this to take place.
Members requested information on the timeline for new appointments. Christine Gilbert informed the Committee that the Council would be making appointments where possible before the August recess. Posts had been advertised and interviews for some of the posts had taken place. She informed the Committee that in an effort to make appointments before the end of July, about 4 weeks had been shaved off the recruitment consultants’ usual timetable for appointing to such posts. She highlighted that the strategic director post with the responsibility of health, education and social care was proving difficult to recruit to. It was reported that there had been a large proportion of applications for the post of Assistant Chief Executive. The Interim Chief Executive informed the Committee that the Council aimed to have the majority of posts filled by the end of October following the completion of interviews and the successful applicants serving their notice.
Members asked if the difficulties of recruiting to the Strategic Director for Health, Education and Social Care could have been anticipated. The Chief Executive clarified that the post of Director of Children’s Services (DCS) was universally difficult because of the level of risk involved. The specific post was therefore anticipated as being difficult to appoint but the addition of Health might attract existing DCS and therefore some flexibility on the appropriate salary level was required as had been agreed by GPS. It was confirmed that the restructure was currently on schedule with a cost neutral effect during the current year as a result of redundancy costs and the target of £2m savings likely to be achieved the following financial year. It was noted that there may be some transitional issues but through anticipation of risk and contingency planning, these would be minimised.
Councillor Powney requested further information on spend on consultants and agency staff and it was agreed that the Interim Chief Executive would provide clarity.
(i) That the report be noted
(ii) That information be provided in regarding the spend on consultants and agency staff