The role of Chief Executive of Brent, currently held in an interim capacity by Christine Gilbert, has at last been advertised nearly a year after Gilber's appointment extension date of 'after' May 2014, which was proposed in June 2013. LINK
It was argued initially that Gilbert needed to stay to see the Council through a period of transition and to ensure stability, the efficient running of the local elections and the maintenance of the Council's good name and then later that she needed to stay to complete work on the Brent Plan.
In Septembr 2014 I was prevented from asking a question about the delayed appointment. LINK
Looking at the Candidate Information Pack LINK it appears that Council Leader Muhammed Butt believes the appointed candidate will be his personal CEO rather than the borough's.
This is what he says in the pack introduction:
Thank you for your interest in the chief executive role at Brent Council.Even more intriguing is Part 4 of the pack:
I thought the best way of explaining what we are looking for in our next Chief Executive is by telling you a bit about myself. I am a Brent boy. I was born in Wembley, went to school in the borough and studied at Kilburn Polytechnic. I live with my wife and children in the ward I represent, Tokyngton. My children go to school in the borough. I have owned businesses in the borough, and worked my way up from an engineer to a Project Manager at BT. I care about the residents of Brent because I am one, and I’m proud to live and work here.
Most people I meet around the borough tell me they enjoy living and working here too. They choose Brent as their home because it is a lively, vibrant place, richly diverse and full of opportunities. That is as true for people whose families have been here for many generations as it is for the residents we welcome from across London, the UK and the world every day.
The talent and energy of our people, our facilities, our dynamic local enterprise, our connectivity and our location all make Brent a place of enormous potential within the powerhouse city that is London. We need to make the very best use of these assets if we are to fulfil that potential in ways that make sure everyone who lives and work here – including the most vulnerable – can improve the quality of their lives. This is a particular challenge when public services are facing dramatic cuts in funding from central government.
I work in politics because I want to make Brent a better place and absolutely believe it is possible, even in the face of these financial challenges. I have a passionate desire to see three things for Brent: fairness; wealth and prosperity; and a strong sense of community. The inequality and injustice I see as I travel across our borough makes me angry. I want all residents to have the opportunities and the tools they need to access work that pays a fair wage. I want to attract more jobs to Brent, guarantee our children leave school with the skills they need to access work and ensure people who are unemployed have the support they need to find work again. I believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work – work must pay enough for a sustainable and comfortable life. I believe that the bonds that tie us together as a community are our greatest asset, and I want to nurture and strengthen them and foster citizenship and goodwill.
I believe we all – the Council, its partner services, residents, businesses and local charities – have a responsibility to make this happen. Working together, we can make Brent an even better place to live and work.
If you share my passion and commitment to improving the quality of life for all Brent residents, then we want to hear from you.
Councillor Muhammed Butt Leader of Brent Council
So much emphasis on the 'leader' and his qualities suggests an expectation that Muhammed Butt will be around for a while yet...Part Four – Chemistry and ‘fit’ between the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council
What is the Leader like to work with?
· Generally pretty relaxed
· Non-bureaucratic; informal and engaging
· Prefers informal conversations to emails; likes personal, face to face interaction
· Likes people who just get on and deliver, and do what they say
· Has an open-door policy; comfortable relating to staff, partners, business and the community
· Comfortable with being checked and challenged re what he can do or what is possible
· Trusts his gut instinct
· A fulltime Leader of the Council – but not intrusive or interfering
What works less well with the Leader
· Not being challenged
· Being told ‘no’ – without a reasonable explanation
· A Chief Executive that clearly has their own agenda
What style and way of operating will be essential in the new Chief Executive for this relationship to work?
· Visibly creates a forward momentum for the organisation
· Energy, enthusiasm and vitality
· Delivery-focused, for self and for the entire organization
· Does not need to be chased
· Not afraid to hold the Leader in ‘check’ – but must have sound reasons for doing so, and, from time to time, be prepared for some constructive challenge back
· An ego that is sufficiently secure not to have to ‘compete’ with the Leader – rather, sees both of them as working in real partnership for the benefit of Brent
· ‘Politically (big ‘P’ and small ‘p’) astute and savvy – without being political
· Lives the ‘open for business’ mantra
· A natural partnership builder
· Personally models the desired overall behaviours for the Council of being open, accessible, and transparent
· Is visible; does not hide in his/her office – but gets out there within the organisation and amongst our communities
· Easily gains and maintains the respect of members, partners and stakeholders
· Recognises that being CX of such a large and complex organisation can never be a 9-5 job
· Ready to ‘let things go’, in the sense that the Council cannot do everything, and many traditional activities may now be better delivered by or through others
· Absolutely ‘must’ be sensitive to diversity issues and understand how that impacts (on a day to day basis) on what the Council does, how it is viewed by citizens, and how it operates
No information is given on the salary exception to describe it as 'Competitive' Our old friend Bloomsbury Resourcing are involved as advisors. There is no information on the appointment process itself and how the recruitment panel will be constituted*. Clearly an important consideration for the Labour Group as they approach the AGM in May.
* Since first publication I have heard that Cllr Suresh Kansagra, leader of the 'official' Conservative opposition will be on the appointment panel.
Closing date: 10 April
Longlisting: by 17 April
Preliminary interviews + assessments: W/C 27 April
Shortlisting: 13 May
Final panel: 18/19 May
If you would like to have an informal/confidential discussion about this role, please contact our advisors: Hamish Davidson LINK on: 07932 698807, Shahidul Miah on 07581 230171 or Leon Ward on: 07871 044649, or email them at:
The office landline is: 020 7183 0363