Scarborough Council appoints specialist recruitment firm as hunt for Chief Executive begins

Scarborough Council is to look outside the authority as it steps up its search for a new chief executive.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 7th February 2019, 1:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:19 pm
A specialist recruitment firm has been appointed in the search for a new Chief Executive.
A specialist recruitment firm has been appointed in the search for a new Chief Executive.

The authority will consider external and internal candidates for the role, which is being vacated by Jim Dillon, who will stand down from the post after 13 years on June 30.

Scarborough Council’s appointments committee met today to approve the hiring of a new person to fill the role.

The committee, chaired by council leader Cllr Derek Bastiman (Con), decided to appoint a specialist recruitment firm to lead the search, with the committee looking to conclude interviews in April, before May’s local election.

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The role, which comes with a salary of approximately £110,000, will be a pivotal one in the future of the council.

Leader of the Labour group Cllr Steve Siddons told the meeting they had to find the right person.

He said: “It’s not about finding something who fits in with the organisation, it’s about someone to lead the organisation, possibly in a new direction.”

Cllr Bastiman added: “The role changes, Jim changed it when he came in and I’m sure the new person will do it their own way as well.”

Cllr Helen Mallory (Con) said that by letting the recruitment firm sift through the applications it would remove any suggestion of favouritism for internal candidates as all those who applied would be judged on the same criteria by an independent firm.

The committee has also reserved the option to ask the Local Government Association (LGA) to recommend an independent chief executive to offer their thoughts on the candidates should the members require some additional advice.

A three-person interview panel will now be set up with Cllr Siddons taking one space as leader of the opposition. The remaining two spaces will be filled by two of Cllr Bastiman, Cllr Mallory and Cllr Sandra Turner (Con).

The cost of the recruitment process is estimated at anywhere between £20,000 and £30,000.

The appointments panel make a recommendation to the full council, which will make the final appointment of a chief executive.

However, due to the upcoming borough elections on May 2 the council will enter purdah six weeks earlier in March, meaning no major decisions will be made by the authority during that time.

This means the appointment of the new chief executive could be the first decision of the new 46-person council in May.