SENIOR MANAGEMENT APPOINTMENT COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 24th September, 2018.
Present: Councillor J.W. Thomas (Chairman); Councillor T.H. Jarvie (Vice-Chairman); Councillors L. Burnett, Dr. I.J. Johnson and N. Moore.
Also present: Councillor A.C. Parker (Cabinet Member for Housing and Building Services).
332 APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE –
This was received from Councillor R.A. Penrose.
333 MINUTES –
RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 26th January, 2018 be approved as a correct record.
334 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –
No declarations were received.
335 RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE HEAD OF HOUSING AND BUILDING SERVICES (DEH) –
The report detailed the proposed arrangements for the recruitment and selection to the post of Head of Housing and Building Services on a permanent basis.
In presenting the report the Director advised that the previous permanent post holder had left the Council’s employment on 5th August, 2016 and since that date two concurrent internal and external recruitment campaigns had been undertaken, the most recent involving a number of professional external recruitment partners. Both campaigns had however, proved unsuccessful. Due to the difficulties of recruiting to the post, the Committee had previously agreed to the appointment of Solace Enterprises to undertake a review of the post details and provide a market assessment of the Council and the outcome of that review had been reported to the Senior Management Committee on 15th December, 2016. At that time, the Committee had agreed to all the recommendations save for the salary increase, believing that this could cause problems with the Council’s Chief Officer grade and salary arrangements.
Since the time the previous permanent post holder had left the Council’s employment, the external recruitment campaign that had been undertaken had cost the Council £30k and regrettably, none of these campaigns had proved successful and it was believed that there were various reasons for this in particular that the post of Head of Housing and Building Services involved leadership and management across a wide range of disciplines and was quite unique outside of the Local Government sector. Most of external candidates that had previously applied had had deficiencies in their knowledge or skills in one or more of the service areas covered by the post and to such an extent that they had, on occasions, not even been considered suitable for interview.
Members were informed that a post of comparable responsibility in a Housing Association carried a greater salary and this had been a further barrier to encouraging suitable quality candidates to make a move from an 'Association'. Housing Associations also often had greater scope to increase salaries for their staff should they receive an offer of appointment from a Local Authority. The Council was, in most cases, simply unable to match this.
As had previously been stated, there was no scope to increase the pay for this post without the potential for causing a 'knock on' effect with other Chief Officer posts within the Council. In any event the pay gap between this post and a post of similar responsibility within the Housing Association Sector was simply too great.
The Committee had previously taken the decision to advertise the post as an internal secondment and a number of potential candidates had been identified with one appointed after a technical interview and Committee interview process.
Taking all the above matters into account, it was therefore being proposed that the post now be advertised internally on a permanent basis. The Job Description and Person Specification for the post remained unchanged and were attached at Appendices A and B for the Committee’s consideration.
Having fully considered the report, it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the post of Head of Housing and Building Services be advertised internally on a permanent basis subject to an amendment in the desirable column in the person specification to include the ability to learn or speak Welsh.
(2) T H A T the Director of Environment and Housing undertake the initial long / short listing and assessment of applicants in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee and the Managing Director.
(3) T H A T, following the outcome of the process outlined in Resolution (2), a further meeting of the Senior Management Appointment Committee be convened to interview and determine the suitability of candidates for appointment to the post.
(4) T H A T the current temporary secondment arrangements for the post be extended for a period of up to six months.
(5) T H A T the Person Specification be amended under the “Desirable” column to include the ability to learn or speak Welsh.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To seek appointment to the permanent position promptly and in a cost effective manner.
(2&3) To progress the recruitment and selection arrangements through a timely and cost efficient process.
(4) To ensure that the post remains covered during the recruitment and selection period.
(5) In compliance with the Council’s Policy.
336 RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE HEAD OF THE REGIONAL INTERNAL AUDIT SHARED SERVICE (MD) –
The Head of Finance / Section 151 Officer presented the report in respect of the proposed arrangements for the recruitment and selection appointment for the post of Head of the Regional Internal Audit Shared Service. Committee was informed that the Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan Internal Audit Shared Service had been fully operational under a formal partnership agreement since February 2013, which had been extended to 31st January, 2020 as both Authorities had experienced the advantages of the Shared Service. Since its inception, the Shared Service had delivered consistently against the approved annual risk based plans and achieved the necessary coverage in order to issue a robust, evidence based audit opinion at the end of each year as well as fully complying with its statutory requirements under the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS). In addition, significant benefits had been realised by bringing the sections together, some of which included; effective use of the total audit resource, knowledge sharing and harmonising working practices and systems.
However, the Service had faced some challenges over the past 18 months in terms of recruitment, although this had also presented the opportunity for a more proactive and focused approach being taken in respect of workforce planning and growing the service to ensure its continued success. As a consequence of this, Section 151 Officers from Bridgend, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Councils had been considering whether there would be any benefits in extending the current partnership arrangement to include the two additional Authorities.
On 18th June, 2018, Cabinet considered and approved a report that outlined the benefits of extending the current joint working agreement to include Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Councils. This proposal was discussed and agreed by the Vale of Glamorgan Audit Committee on 25th July, 2018. In addition, the proposal had been agreed and endorsed by the Cabinets and Audit Committees in Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Councils.
In presenting the report, the Head of Service stated that the process for the appointment to the post had been discussed with partner Local Authorities with the proposal that the Senior Management Appointment Committee in the Vale Council be the appropriate body to oversee the appointment process as the Vale Council would be the employing organisation. However, to ensure that all parties in the partnership were able to participate in the process, it was proposed that the Chair of Audit Committee in each of the four Authorities, or their deputy, be invited to take part in the assessment process for the post.
Following discussions that had taken place at the Programme Board it was proposed that the new post be advertised across the four Authorities that would make up the new partnership. This would give officers employed across the four Authorities the opportunity to apply for the new post. Whilst it was hoped that an appointment could be made from within the four Local Authorities, it was requested that delegated authority be given to Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Leader, Managing Director and the Section 151 Officers in the other Authorities to conclude the internal recruitment process at any stage in order to advertise external to the four Authorities, should it be felt that it would not be possible to select the right person from the candidates that had come forward.
The draft Advert (Appendix A), Job Description (Appendix B) and Person Specification (Appendix C) for the new post were attached for the consideration and approval of the Committee.
Members, in querying whether there were potential candidates across all the Local Authorities suitable for the post were advised by the Head of Service that there was currently staff in audit positions throughout the Local Authorities that were suitable for the position and she was confident that an appointment could be made. In referring to the report the Head of Service also requested that the desirable column in the person specification be amended to include the ability to learn Welsh or to speak Welsh.
Having fully considered the report, it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the post of Head of the Regional Internal Audit Shared Service be advertised internally across the Bridgend, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Councils
(2) T H A T the draft internal Advertisement, Job Description and Person Specification in respect of the Head of Audit position be approved subject to an amendment in the desirable column of the person specification to include the ability to learn or speak Welsh.
(3) T H A T the Head of Finance be requested to undertake the initial long / short listing and assessment of applicants, in consultation with the Leader and the Managing Director and on conclusion and depending on the outcome of this process, a further meeting of the Senior Management Appointment Committee be convened to interview and determine the suitability of candidates for appointment to the post.
(4) T H A T the Chair of Audit Committee from each of the Authorities be invited to take part in the assessment process.
(5) T H A T Section 151 Officers from the partner Authorities be involved in the assessment day to ensure that their opinions may be considered by this Committee.
(6) T H A T delegated authority be given to the Head of Finance, in consultation with the Leader, Managing Director and the Section 151 Officers in the collaborating Authorities, to advertise the post externally to the four partners at any stage of the process should it be felt that it would not be possible to select the right person from the candidates that come forward.
Reasons for decisions
(1&2) To seek the appointment to the new position promptly and in a cost effective manner and to ensure compliance with Council policy.
(3) To progress the recruitment, selection and appointment arrangements through a timely and cost efficient process
(4) To ensure the engagement of the Chairs of Audit Committees in the recruitment and selection process
(5) To ensure the engagement of the Section 151 Officers in the recruitment and selection process
(6) To seek appointment to the new position promptly