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Stevenage is seeking a dynamic chief to drive its regeneration, says Suzanne Simmons-Lewis...
Stevenage is seeking a dynamic chief to drive its regeneration, says Suzanne Simmons-Lewis

Stevenage BC has begun the search for its next chief executive to replace Ian Paske, who is retiring after 10 years at the helm.

The town, with a population of 80,000, is set in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside, and the council is in the first phases of a number of regeneration initiatives.

Mr Paske explains: 'We are facing some major development in Stevenage, particularly to the town centre, where we are working with our developers to give the 60-year-old town a makeover. It's time to take things forward and launch Stevenage New Town into the 21st century.'

The council has recently transferred its housing stock to an arm's-length management organisation.

'We need someone who can deal with these challenges as well as the other challenges all chief executives face in local government,' he says.

Three strategic directors report to the chief executive and the council has a relatively new leader, Sharon Taylor (Lab) who is a year into the role.

Key attributes for the post include someone who is a leader and strategic thinker. Mr Paske says: 'We are looking for someone who is a dynamic leader and a good communicator, who can enthuse people and take them along. We have a huge number of partnerships with business, voluntary organisations and other local authorities. The new chief executive would be someone who is able to lead on a number of these partnerships. For example, I have been leading on the safer stronger block of the local area agreement, this role may not automatically continue but we need someone who can do this kind of work.'

The new chief executive should have a 'can do' approach to service delivery. The council's culture promotes success through motivation, innovation and hard work. A clear grasp of the political, economic and social environment, as well as policy planning and influencing skills to promote the business and social interests of the borough is needed.

While skills are more important than specific qualifications, Mr Paske says: 'It's important that we have the right person and the right fit for the council. There are many opportunities for a new chief executive.'

He adds: 'The members are very focused about service delivery and the quality of services.

'We are a 'good' authority that wants to be excellent.'

Facts and figures



Males 39,166

Females 40,549

Aged 0 to 15 21.1%

Aged 16 to 74 65.1%

Aged 7513.9%and over

Born in the UK 93.6%


Percentage of people aged 16-74 . . .

Employed 46.9%

Self-employed 12.8%

Unemployed 2.9%

Student 5.5%

Retired 12.3%

Looking after family 6.2%

Sick/disabled 3.9%

Other 2.4%

Ethnic groups

White or white British94.6%

Mixed race1.4%

Asian or Asian British2.1%

Blackor black British 1.4%

Other ethnic group0.7%

Average house price (£)

Detached 291,520

Semidetached 208,159

Terraced 160,321

Flat/maisonette 132,934

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