CEO Gillian Beasley has held the position of Chief Executive in Peterborough City Council since September 2002.
In June 2016 she was appointed as joint Head of Paid Service/Chief Executive between Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
Speaking to members of the Employment Committee at their Extraordinary meeting (26 August), Chair, Cllr Richard Brown, said: “Following Gillian’s announcement to retire, which is due to take place towards the end of 2021, the sharing agreement automatically ceases when she leaves.
“It is therefore necessary to undertake a recruitment process in order to find a replacement and to review and decide if a new sharing arrangement should be put in place.”
Fiona McMillan, Director of Law and Governance and Monitoring Officer, added: “The Leaders of both councils have considered carefully the significant challenge both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council face in moving out of this lengthy pandemic.
“These challenges include recovery of services, recovery of the economy, continued response to COVID-19, support to the vaccination programme, and the significant financial pressure on each council’s budgets.
“In addition, the new Chief Executive will need to lead the work on establishing the financial security of the council to provide vital services into the future.
“These are challenges which are significant for both councils and as a result it is recommended that a Chief Executive is appointed for each Council when Gillian retires.
“The Leaders will also be considering the future of other shared roles and arrangements and these will be subject to more detailed discussion over the coming months.
“Where these services are clearly helping to deliver strong outcomes for residents and Communities or making the council more resilient, shared services will continue to be an option.
“With the return to a dedicated Chief Executive for each council, it is evident that this will involve increased costs, but it is also clear that the roles will have new and unique targets to deliver.”
Cllr Mohammed Jamil asked: “This is not a role that is easy to fill; does the council have a ‘Plan-B’ if we cannot find the right person?”
Ms McMillan replied: “We appreciate that the role is not an easy one to fill and so we have allowed for as wide a representative package as possible and shall consider each candidate on their individual merits; but yes, there is a possibility that the role may not be filled at the first round of applications.”
Leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, added: “I look at this selection process a bit like ‘Undercover Boss’ on the TV, we will be looking at everybody who applies – no matter what their background may be or the level of experience they bring – and consider them on what we see in front of us.
“The employment criteria have been changed to reflect this and I’m quite certain with the role that is being offered that the right candidates will come forward.”
Members of the Employment Committee agreed unanimously to accept the new employment criteria and advertising process, and to move the search for a new CEO for the council to the next stage.
The position carries a salary of between £166,843 rising to £203, 923 depending upon experience.
The role will be advertised in early September with interviews likely to take place in late October, and ratification of the new appointment made at a subsequent Full Council meeting