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Torridge is seeking a top accountant to help raise its game, says Suzanne Simmons-Lewis...
Torridge is seeking a top accountant to help raise its game, says Suzanne Simmons-Lewis

Torridge DC is looking for a chief accountant to help all service areas develop a more people and performance focused organisation.

In response to a 'poor' comprehensive performance assessment in 2003, the council has embarked on an improvement plan that aims make Torridge an 'excellent' council by 2008.

Reporting to the head of finance, the ideal candidate should be a fellow or member of one of the recognised consultative committees of accountancy bodies and have a specific working knowledge of financial services legislation. He or she should have experience of managing financial budgets and delivering efficiencies. Excellent communication skills are essential too. A salary of up to£35,000 is being offered along with a generous relocation package.

Jenny Wallace, strategic director, corporate resources, says: 'We are looking for someone who is up for the challenge of changing the culture here. Someone who will act as a business partner and help the heads of service achieve their business plans.

'In the past the organisation hasn't been so focused on performance management. But now we are getting into the performance management ethos, looking at how back office services help the front office services deliver, the post holder will play a key role.'

She adds: 'Other duties include looking at all of the council services and how they fit into the strategic plan and helping each service area with business planning - to cost their business plan and help them to monitor how they are doing against those targets.'

The role provides an opportunity to gain practical experience of delivering Gershon efficiencies and introducing a new financial software package among other things.

The council is situated on the picturesque north coast of Devon, with offices along the River Torridge. There is easy access to beaches and the countryside, with Exmoor nearby. Exeter - with its university and theatres - is within 40 miles.

Chief executive John Vanderlaarschot, who joined the council a year ago from the private sector, is in the process of creating a new management team, which includes a new head of legal services, head of community planning and development services and another strategic director of corporate services. These additional roles will be advertised shortly.

Facts and figures



Males 28,820

Females 30,145

Aged 0 to 15 18%

Aged 16 to 74 72%

Aged 75 and over10%

Born in the UK 97%


Percentage of people aged 16-74

Employed 44.1%

Self-employed 14.8%

Unemployed 3.6%

Student 4.2%

Retired 18.7%

Looking after family 6.7%

Sick/disabled 5.5%

Other 2.4%

Ethnic groups

White British98%

Mixed race0.4%

Asian or Asian British0.5%

Black or black British 0.8%

Other ethnic group0.3%

Average house price (£)

Detached 271,587

Semidetached 175,796

Terraced 142,329

Flat/maisonette 120,330

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