12 weeks on: The search begins for a £150,000-a-year council chief executive

The vacancy left by the "stepping down" of Penny Thompson (inset) appears on The Guardian and Municipal Journal websites
The vacancy left by the "stepping down" of Penny Thompson (inset) appears on The Guardian and Municipal Journal websites

Nearly 12 weeks since Penny Thompson "stood down", a successor is sought.

The hunt is on. Nearly 12 weeks since Penny Thompson "stood down" as chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council, the search for a successor has begun in earnest.

A video made by Councillor Waren Morgan, leader of the Labour minority adminstration, is intended to help attract high-calibre candoidates

A video made by Councillor Waren Morgan, leader of the Labour minority adminstration, is intended to help attract high-calibre candoidates

A low-key recruitment process - being handled not by professional headhunters, but by the city council's human resources team - was formally launched on Wednesday with online advertisements for the £150,000-a-year vacancy on the websites of The Guardian and Municipal Journal.

Advertisements assert "an extraordinary city needs extraordinary leadership". They promise: "Competitive salary £150,000, plus relocation assistance where applicable".

With a deadline of 9am on Monday, September 28, the timetable states that an "assessment day" for short-listed candidates will be on Monday, October 19 - swiftly followed by a final interview with an appointments panel on October 20.

To help attract high-calibre candidates, the recruitment process includes a video featuring Councillor Warren Morgan, the leader of the Labour minority administration, who told Ms Thompson he did not want her as chief executive almost as soon as Labour took control of the council after the May 7 elections.

As a result, Ms Thompson received compensation of £269,000; the council’s total bill came to an estimated £400,000.

The new advertisements state: "Brighton and Hove is a remarkable place, famed for its vibrancy, diversity, beaches and Royal Pavilion. Beyond the famous coastline lies a less often seen but equally remarkable city, home to our many different communities.

"A bright and exciting future lies ahead for Brighton and Hove with a City Deal for long term growth already signed with central government. There are real and complex challenges too, not least the impact of public spending reductions on a growing and changing population.

"We’re looking for an exceptional individual to be our new chief executive. Our chief executive will work with others to ensure our city not only meets its potential but exceeds it, creating a thriving international economy and a fairer, more cooperative society in the process.

Brighton and Hove City Council is a unitary local authority with no overall control and a minority Labour and Cooperative Administration. Our chief executive will excel in navigating a diverse and challenging political landscape to build consensus over shared plans and vision for both the council and the city's future.

Brighton and Hove is a growing city with the most business start-ups in the UK outside of London, but also a challenge around lower productivity. Our chief executive will be able to influence and cement our economic regeneration with government in the emerging context of devolution, alongside our partners across the Greater Brighton City Region.

Our city has a rich, diverse, creative and accepting culture which offers great opportunity for many and attracts many more to live or work here. Our chief executive will make sure that, despite the most challenging public sector spending climate, all our communities, young people especially, benefit from the city’s growth and prosperity.

Our city has a changing population, where people are living longer but with more complex health needs. Our chief executive will lead a radical and decisive shift to greater community collaboration and enablement, redefining relationships and rebalancing responsibility appropriately between the council, residents and partners.

"All this is vital to our own transformation and the regeneration of the city and its assets. Our chief executive will be able to demonstrate exceptional ability for culture change and delivery within large and complex organisations, cooperating with and encouraging others to deliver better outcomes for residents or customers.

"If you can demonstrate yourself to be an experienced, inspirational and progressive leader, committed to equality and the reinvigoration and future success of public services and communities then we would like to hear from you."

For more information, visit: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/chiefexecutive

In a recruitment video on the council website, Cllr Warren Morgan says:

"We’re looking for an exceptional individual to be our next chief executive.

"Someone who can provide decisive and innovative leadership, someone who can help us meet the public sector funding challenges of the next few years.

"Someone who can help us build a thriving international economy, prosperous communities and a fairer society.

'If you’re that experienced, inspirational and innovative leader, then get in touch with us and apply for this post.