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Kathryn Godfrey looks at the posts of directors and deputy chief executive at Sunderland City Council...
Kathryn Godfrey looks at the posts of directors and deputy chief executive at Sunderland City Council

Sunderland City Council is looking to fill a number of key senior roles, including deputy chief executive, to increase capacity and meet the challenges of a growing city.

Sunderland has major regeneration plans. It is moving on rapidly from its past and developing new strengths, particularly in IT.

The council wants to maintain its 'excellent' status as well as develop partnerships that will add value to what the council is trying to achieve.

As well as a deputy chief executive, the council is recruiting a director of children's services, head of housing, head of land and property and head of planning and environment. The posts of deputy chief executive and head of housing are new.

Ged Fitzgerald has been chief executive for the past 18 months. He said: 'We need the capacity to meet the challenges and the agenda that face the council and the wider city. We have taken stock of capacity and matched skills and competencies against what we need to go forward.

'Having a deputy will increase capacity as well as help with succession planning.'

Mr Fitzgerald said he would be looking at personality and pedigree in the deputy. The council is seeking an individual with a track record of achievement in a major organisation with customer-facing activity. Although applicants are likely to have a background in local government, it is not essential.

He said: 'We will be looking for a combination of the right people and interpersonal skills, as well as the right approach to building and maintaining partnerships. And he or she will need the customer focus that is so important to the council.'

The head of housing will have a strategic rather than an operational role. A stock transfer company was established three years ago but, since then, the council has found a shortfall in senior management capacity to deal with strategic and residual housing responsibilities. These include issues such as homelessness and asylum as well as planning and developing housing strategy in renewal areas.

Sunderland is a progressive city, facing a range of challenges Mr Fitzgerald says will interest applicants. He said: 'It is a good place to build and develop a career as well as being a good place to live and work.'

Sunderland offers the benefits of city life, a good supply of green spaces and an attractive coastline nearby.

Facts and figures

Population 280,807

Males 136,625

Females 144,182

Aged 0 to 15 20.0%

Aged 16 to 74 73.4%

Aged 75 and over 6.6%

Born in the UK 97.6%

Born in EU 0.8%

(inc Rep Ireland)

Born elsewhere 1.6%


Percentage of people aged 16-74 . . .

Employed 49%

Self-employed 4.2%

Unemployed 4.8%

Student 7.2%

Retired 14.3%

Looking after home/family 6.7%

Permanently sick/disabled 10.4%

Other 3.4%


People with limiting long-term illness 24.0%

People whose health is good63.9%

People whose health is fairly good23.2%

People whose health is not good12.9%

Ethnic groups

White British97.0%

White non-British1.0%

Mixed race0.4%

Asian or Asian British1.2%

Black or black British0.1%

Other ethnic group0.3%

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