Chorley and South Ribble councils begin search for new chief executive as Gary Hall’s retirement announced

Gary Hall is set to retire after more than 11 years in charge of Chorley and more than three since also taking charge of neighboring South Ribble.

The two authorities plan to continue sharing the role and this week invited applications from any existing staff who might be interested in the top job.

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Gary Hall has been in charge of Chorley Council for over a decade and also of South Ribble for almost three years – but will retire at the end of the year.

Both boards have a policy that commits them to trying to find a suitable internal candidate first – and to look no further if necessary.

This position was reaffirmed at full council meetings for each of the authorities last week – but, at South Ribble, the Conservative opposition group said the importance of the position meant that external candidates should be given a chance to earn £145,000 a year. work from the start.

Moss Side Ward Councilor Michael Green said there was a good ‘business reason’ for deviating from the usual process.

“I would like to think that we all want the best for South Ribble Borough Council and for our residents in terms of service [and] attract investment – and on this basis it is quite normal that we test the market.

“And if we have a suitable internal candidate who wishes to put their name forward through this process, then that should be welcomed – absolutely – but it’s only fair that we widen the net…and look for the best possible person for a such an important role,” added Cllr Green.

However, South Ribble Labor leader Paul Foster said there was no justification for abandoning the agreed recruitment policy.

Broad Oak ward Liberal Democrat Councilor Angela Turner added that creating an internal promotion environment “provides a career development opportunity for someone else to take on the role of the person who has been promoted”.

“It… inspires other people around [them] thinking that they have a chance and are part of an organization that develops their existing staff and gives them a chance.

There was less controversy over the issue in Chorley, where Labor Council leader Alistair Bradley was more keen to secure a long transfer period for Mr Hall’s successor.

“When you change the person at the top, it’s the most dangerous time for an organization, so we have to do it right,” Cllr Bradley said.

If an internal candidate is successful, he could be in place by the end of April. However, documents presented to both boards indicate that there will still be time for sufficient transition even if the position is open to external candidates.

Candidates from existing staff were invited to submit their CV, along with a supporting statement outlining their leadership and “change management” skills and their approach to assisting the two councils in delivering services.

Shortlisted candidates will then face an assessment center where they will be interviewed one-on-one by each of the council leaders and will also face several panel interviews.

If the Joint Nominating Committee deems that one of the internal candidates should get the position, it will recommend that person at the full meetings of the council of each authority. The advisers will have the final say, whether the jury finally proposes an internal or external candidate.

Mr Hall was himself promoted to Chorley council when he became chief executive of the authority in July 2011.

In May 2019, he also became caretaker boss of South Ribble after his counterpart, Heather McManus, was suspended. Following his departure from the authority a year later, Mr Hall was then appointed joint chief executive of Chorley and South Ribble councils on a two-year fixed-term contract from January 2021.

During the pandemic he became ‘Silver Command’ at the Lancashire Resilience Forum, which led the county’s response to the Covid crisis.

WHAT DOES THE GENERAL MANAGER DO?

According to the job description for the new role, the chief responsibility of the CEO is “to provide effective strategic leadership to [each] the board’s senior management team.

More specifically, they will be asked to:

***act as senior council advisor to council elected officials on policy options and forward planning of objectives, services and resources to deliver the ambitions of the sovereign councils for the boroughs;

*** provide leadership, direction and management of council officers to ensure implementation of corporate strategies and delivery of high quality and cost effective services based on community needs;

***manage the interface between elected members and senior management, fostering a positive and respectful relationship between [them];

*** Provide strong and visible leadership and direction to council membership to meet council and community priorities, maximize potential, and develop a culture of accountability and empowerment.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET THE JOB?

*** A relevant postgraduate Masters or equivalent qualification and/or extensive relevant experience

*** Be able to demonstrate a commitment to professional development and have significant experience managing relevant teams and functions with demonstrable success at a comparable scale and level of complexity

*** Have experience managing a range of multidisciplinary projects using transferable skills to move from project to project and team to team to drive delivery and get benefits

***Be able to demonstrate effective written and verbal communication skills.

***Be able to work in a team, maximize available resources and plan and organize a varied workload with changing deadlines and priorities.

***Be able to challenge service performance, identify and implement improvements.

Source: Chorley and South Ribble Councils

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Brandon D. James