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Search for chiefs at two new Dorset unitaries underway

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Dorset’s two new unitary authorities have both begun the process to recruit new chief executives.

The shadow Dorset Council, the larger of the two future councils, is set to announce a permanent chief executive by 27 September, with a second announcement from the other shadow authority, made up of Bournemouth and Christchurch BCs and Borough of Poole, expected in early October.

The senior appointments committee at the shadow Dorset Council appointed recruitment firm GatenbySanderson and met to consider a shortlist of candidates on 24 August. A decision is expected to be made in private by the committee on 13 September which will then be recommended to full council on 27 September.

The new chief executive’s position, with an annual salary of £160,000 to £175,000 plus benefits, would fill the position currently occupied by interim head of paid service, Matt Prosser.

Mr Prosser is the only currently serving chief executive who has publicly said he is running for the new position.

According to the council’s job description, the new chief executive would be responsible for “designing the strategic leadership team, ensuring that the authority is fit for purpose and delivering on its commitments to the leader, members and its communities.”

Senior director positions have not yet been advertised, with details on recruitment to be put before the shadow executive committee on 17 September.

Down the road at the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole shadow authority, a potentially slightly larger annual salary of between £160,000 and £180,000 (plus benefits) is being offered for the chief’s position. It is currently held on an interim basis by Bournemouth’s Jane Portman. Shadow council papers show that preliminary interviews through recruitment firm Penna are expected to start in the week commencing 3 September while panel interviews are scheduled to start on 24 September.

The Local Government Association is understood to have helped draw up draft job descriptions and salary recommendations at both shadow councils, in partnership with GatenbySanderson and Penna respectively.

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