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USHER'S SUCCESSOR TO FOCUS ON THE STRUGGLERS

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Increasing support for failing councils is emerging as the major priority for the new executive director of the Imp...
Increasing support for failing councils is emerging as the major priority for the new executive director of the Improvement & Development Agency.

IDeA's board was due to meet this week to discuss the qualities and priorities of the successor to Mel Usher, who retired because of ill health (LGC, 21 June). He launched the agency over three years ago, and his mix of energy and ideas led to extensive development of both commercial and council support services. The advent of comprehensive performance assessment means his successor is likely to concentrate on helping failing councils.

The performance support unit, run by ex-Nottingham City Council chief executive Ted Cantle, has around 25 councils on its books, but this is certain to increase.

IDeA board members are aware the post requires an unusual mix of skills - from detailed management ability to clout on the national stage - which means there will be only a few likely candidates.

The job will be advertised in LGC next month.
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