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Process to recruit new chief executive for Suffolk County Council set to continue

PUBLISHED: 09:42 15 January 2018

Former Suffolk County Council chief executive Deborah Cadman. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Former Suffolk County Council chief executive Deborah Cadman. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The hunt to find a new chief executive for Suffolk County Council is set to resume at the end of this month, after an attempt to recruit for the role failed last year despite a £32,000 campaign.

Former chief executive Deborah Cadman stood down in September to take up the same role at the new West Midlands Combined Authority.

Sue Cook, director of health, wellbeing and children’s services, was made interim chief executive while a permanent replacement was sought.

But, despite a recruitment campaign which cost the council in the region of £32,000, no-one was selected.

Previously the council had said they had a “very strong field” of candidates, but the four shortlisted candidates were later deemed ‘unsuitable’ by the authority’s political leaders.

The council is now poised to restart the recruitment process.

According to a report, being presented to the staff appointments committee on Tuesday, January 22, “a permanent appointment is now required in order to provide stability and to support delivery of the corporate priorities”.

The committee is being asked at the meeting to approve the business case for the position.

A report to the committee states the process is expected to take up to five months – two months to advertise and then interview prospective candidates, with a further three-month notice period anticipated of the successful candidate from their current role.

Although other options have been considered – such as a current council director taking on the role alongside their existing duties, or a shared chief executive with another organisation – report author Duncan Crow, assistant HR operations manager, said: “Given the nature and scale of the financial and broader challenges these options are not recommended.”

The post attracts a salary of £170,000.

Whoever becomes chief executive will be expected to help Suffolk County Council to save £55.5million over the next three years.

The staff appointments committee will decide on who takes up the role, but the decision must be agreed by both the cabinet and full council.

Human Resources at the authority will run the recruitment process.

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