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Cheshire’s two new unitaries need a chief executive each

Two chief executives are required to lead the new unitary councils Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester.

The councils, each made up of three existing districts and Cheshire CC, will be fully operational by next year. From this autumn the chief executives will play pivotal roles in leading the transition process and forging the direction of the new authorities.

Graham Goodwin, managing partner at Gatenby Sanderson consultants who are managing the recruitment process, says: “This is a rare opportunity and with a population each of around 350,000, these are big authorities. While setting the sense of purpose and vision for the future with members, the chief executives will have to keep delivering good-quality services from councils going through a lot of change. In addition, they will be recruiting key people into various jobs, so these are quite complicated roles.

“The roles will appeal to candidates who want to put their mark on an organisation because they provide the opportunity to begin something new, while starting from a strong position based on the status of authorities that they are forming from.”

Cheshire is also a good place to live and work, and has an interesting geographical location, being near Manchester, Wales, and not far from Merseyside or the Midlands, Mr Goodwin says.

The roles would suit candidates from a variety of backgrounds. “We are casting the net fairly wide, but recognising that these are fairly challenging roles that need a good level of experience,” says Mr Goodwin. “We are looking for people that have worked in local government, the public sector and possibly the private sector, if they can demonstrate good transferrable skills.

“Candidates need change-management experience, leadership skills and the experience of setting up large organisations would be helpful.”

He adds: “The posts are big enough to attract existing chief executives, and really good directors from large organisations, which is what we are looking for.”

Both councils have formed new administrations and will be Conservative-led. The ability and experience to work well in a political context while starting up a new organisation is important.

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