Agenda item

Recruitment to Chief Officer Posts and Structure Changes


The Chair advised that the Committee would be invited to consider the open part of this agenda item first prior to a proposal to move into exempt session for item 10 on the agenda, the exempt appendices to the report.


The Committee considered the report of the Chief Executive on recruitment to Chief Officer posts and structure changes following two recent resignations and a request for early retirement at Chief Officer level. He had also been notified of a planned retirement.


The requirement to recruit to a number of key posts also provided an opportunity to review how the Council was best organised at senior management level to deliver its plans at this time. The Council had made appointments to a number of senior positions since November 2016 and was continuing to improve its capacity to deliver the Wirral Plan, deliver transformation plans and explore the best models to deliver services to residents of Wirral. 


The report recommended recruiting to the vacant post of Director for Children, the forthcoming vacant post of Assistant Director: Law and Governance and a newly configured Director of Finance post (following retirement). The report also gave details of recommended salaries for these roles based on external benchmarking and advice.


In addition, the report set out some changes to reporting lines for some functions in response to the evolving nature of the operating model; to enable the Council to reorganise capacity and to meet future requirements.


Councillor Rennie, expressed support for some of the proposals within the report, including the proposals that the Director for Care and Health report directly to the Chief Executive and that the recruitment to a re-designated post of Director of Finance would not just be focussed within the local government arena but the search would also encompass potential candidates from the commercial sector. She did, however, express concern at the proposed increase in the salary for the Director for Children’s post.


Councillor Phil Davies, referring to the comparator salaries for other Authorities’ Director of Children’s Services posts, spoke of the need to pay an appropriate salary to enable the recruitment of the highest quality candidate. He acknowledged that the Council should always be prudent in its expenditure of Council Tax payers’ monies but this was the most important job for the Council to recruit to.


Councillor Gilchrist posed the question as to what had the creation of the Strategic Director posts achieved. He also referred to the fact that it was only recently that the Council had recruited a Director of Transformation, and queried why there was a need to change the role and title of this post now.


The Chief Executive stated that he would be happy to have a one to one with Councillor Gilchrist to talk him through the proposed changes to the structure. He had also spoken with the recruitment consultants, Penna, on the need to have a wider field of candidates from both the public and commercial sectors for the Director of Finance post.


The Assistant Director: Human Resources and Organisational Development confirmed that she was satisfied with the service provided by Penna who had successfully tendered twice for the position of recruitment consultants. She stated that the Council did have a challenging relationship with Penna and that they provided advice all the way through the recruitment process.


On a motion by Councillor Phil Davies, seconded by Councillor George Davies, it was –


Resolved (4:3) –


(1)  That the revised Chief Officer structure of the Council, detailed in Appendix Two (including the deletion, creation and change of roles) with the new structure effective from 1 September 2017, be approved.


(2)  Politically proportionate Appointments Panels, be established, in accordance with the terms of reference set out in Appendix Seven of the report, for the following posts to be advertised internally and externally at the following salary:


·  Director for Finance (S151 Officer), Director 1, £103k-115k 

·  Director for Children SD2 (new grade), £140-155k

·  Assistant Director: Law and Governance (Monitoring Officer) AD 1/Director 2,  £79-93k


(3)  To agree that the posts specified in (2) above be advertised as soon as possible following the meeting of this Committee on 27 June 2017.


(4)  To agree that the Assistant Director: Human Resources and Organisational Development be authorised to make and undertake all requisite arrangements necessary for the appointments to be made.


(5)  That it be RECOMMENDED to COUNCIL that the Employment and Appointments Committee and its Appointment Panels have delegated authority to formally agree and confirm the appointment of all the posts specified in (2) above.


(6)  That it be RECOMMENDED to COUNCIL that the Chief Officer pay scales as set out in the Council’s Pay Policy be amended to incorporate proposed salary for Director for Children’s Services post (appendix three to the report).

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