Agenda Item No 4

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Senior Management Appointment Committee:  24th September 2018


Report of the Director of Environment and Housing


Recruitment and Selection Arrangements for the Head of Housing and Building Services


Purpose of the Report

  1. To propose arrangements for recruitment and selection to the post of Head of Housing and Building Services on a permanent basis.


  1. That the post of Head of Housing and Building Services is advertised internally on a permanent basis.
  2. That the Director of Environment and Housing be requested to undertake the initial long/short -listing and assessment of applicants, in consultation with the Chair of the Committee and the Managing Director. On conclusion and depending on the outcome of this process a further meeting of the Senior Management Committee be convened to interview and determine the suitability of candidates for the post.
  3. That the current temporary secondment arrangements for the post be extended for a period of up to 6 months.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To seek appointment to the permanent position promptly and in a cost effective manner.
  2. To progress the recruitment and selection arrangements through a timely and cost efficient process.
  3. To ensure that the post remains covered during the recruitment and selection period.


  1. The previous permanent post holder left the Council's employment on 5th August 2016. Since this date two concurrent internal and external recruitment campaigns have been undertaken, the most recent involving a number of professional external recruitment partners. Both campaigns unfortunately proved unsuccessful.
  2. The first campaign resulted in 10 external applications being received. However, the Committee of 27th September 2016 resolved that none of these applicants were considered suitable to be taken forward to the next stages of the recruitment process.
  3. Due to the obvious difficulties in recruiting to this post, Committee agreed to the appointment of Solace Enterprises to undertake a review of the post details and provide a market assessment to the Council. The outcome of this review was reported to Senior Management Appointment Committee on 15th December 2016. In summary the report recommended an improved bespoke recruitment campaign with the job description and person specification amended so as to attract senior professionals from a wider field. The report also suggested increasing the salary by £5k to compete better with the local Housing Associations, Committee agreed to all the recommendations save for the salary increase, believing that this could cause problems with the Council's current Chief Officer grade and salary arrangements.
  4. The job description and person specification were amended to incorporate the changes suggested by Solace Enterprises in advance of the second recruitment campaign. This campaign also benefitted by the use of professional, recruitment and advertising consultants which resulted in 25 applications being received. Of these 25 applications, the Committee of 16th March, 2017 agreed to take 12 candidates forward to the officer technical interview stage. Two of the candidates subsequently withdrew leaving 10 available to attend for the technical interview of the selection process.
  5. At its meeting of 30th March 2017, the Committee agreed to take forward a short list of 4 candidates from the 10 to formal Committee interview. These interviews were conducted on 5th April 2017.
  6. Committee made an appointment but despite the candidate initially accepting the role the candidate subsequently withdrew 2 days later for personal reasons. None of the other candidates interviewed were considered suitable for appointment to the post at that time.
  7. At its meeting of 14th June 2017 Committee resolved to advertise the position on an internal secondment basis for a period of 12 months, due to ongoing problems with the availability of potential candidates in the open market and the ever increasing costs of recruitment.
  8. At a subsequent meeting of this Committee on 25th September 2017 an appointment to the post on a 12 month secondment was made.
  9. The secondment period expires on 30th September 2018 hence the requirement for a decision to be taken on the long term arrangements for this post.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Since the previous permanent post holder left the Council's employment in August 2016, the external recruitment campaigns have cost the Council £30k.  Regrettably none of these campaigns have proved successful and it is believed that there are various reasons for this.
  2. The post of Head of Housing and Building Services involves leadership and management across a wide range of disciplines and is quite unique outside of the Local Government sector.  Most external candidates who previously applied to the post had deficiencies in their knowledge or skills in one or more of the service areas covered by this post and to such an extent that they were, on occasions, not even considered suitable for interview.
  3. Also, only 11 out of the 22 Local Authorities in Wales now manage their own housing stock so the pool of senior housing management employees with 'owned stock' expertise has reduced considerably over the years.
  4. A post of comparable responsibility in a Housing Association carries a greater salary and this has been a further barrier to encouraging suitable quality candidates to make a move from an 'Association'.  Housing Associations also often have greater scope to increase salaries for their staff should they receive an offer of appointment from a Local Authority.  We are in most cases simply unable to match this.
  5. As has previously been stated, there is 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 is simply too great.
  6. The Committee previously took a decision to advertise this post as an internal secondment and a number of potential candidates were identified with one appointed after a technical interview and Committee interview process.
  7. Taking all the above matters into account, it is proposed that the post now be advertised internally on a permanent basis.
  8. The job description and person specification for the post remains unchanged and these are attached at Appendices A and B.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The vacancy is a consequence of the previous post holder having resigned. The costs associated with this particular recruitment process would be predominantly officer time only and this can be covered from within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are not sustainability or climate change implications as a result of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no direct legal implications resulting from this report, and the proposals within this report are compliant with the Local Authorities (Standard Orders) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications resulting from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The recruitment process will reflect best equal opportunities practice.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The successful appointment to the position of Head of Housing and Building Services will assist in the delivery of Council's corporate and service objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The issues within this report are delegated to the Senior Management Appointment Committee in accordance with the Council's Constitution.  The appointment of Committees and their terms of reference are a matter for Full Council
  2. The final decision of the Senior Management Appointment Committee will be  circulated to Elected Members of the Council for their information.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The recognised Trade Unions have been consulted on these proposals and are in agreement.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. N/A

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing

Tel: 02920 673 101

Officers Consulted

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing