Top jobs hard to fill, says study

Councils are struggling to recruit directors and assistant directors of adults’ and children’s services due to a limited pool of suitable candidates, experts have said.

The problem originated from the split in adults’ and children’s services caused by the Children Act 2004 and the increased complexity of senior roles, according to recruitment experts. It was highlighted in a report on the local government workforce by the Improvement and Development Agency published last week.

Stephen Moir, vice-president of the Public Sector People Managers’ Association, which represents council personnel directors, said authorities that appointed directors of children’s services soon after the act had had the pick of candidates.

Those councils that followed had a smaller pool because some former education and social services directors declined to apply and the challenging nature of the role had delayed the promotion of assistant directors.

But he said things were more difficult in recruiting to senior level posts in adults’ services as councils have tended to recruit these after selecting their children’s services leaders, leaving them with a smaller pool.

The same point was made by Maggie Hennessy, partner at recruitment consultants Gatenby Sanderson, who called on authorities to look beyond people with social services backgrounds for candidates for senior adult roles.

She said: “Authorities are facing huge issues in finding quality fields. I think for the next crop of people we should look at the independent sector and social housing.”

Further information
Download The Future Shape of Local Authorities’ Workforces
Gatenby Sanderson

Related article
Quality at the top

Contact the author
Mithran Samuel


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