The Chief Executive is the Council’s principal policy advisor to its directly elected Mayor and 40 councillors. As the statutory Head of Paid Service, the role is accountable for a budget of £370 million and approximately 2,500 employees who deliver a wide range of services to the community. Responsible for civil contingency and emergency management, the Chief Executive also acts as Returning Officer for national and local elections.
Early areas of focus for the incoming Chief Executive will include a review of budgets and financial management in the context of the aftermath of the pandemic. We also expect that you will need to develop a plan for organisational and service transformation, including some further channel-shift to digital. You will need to ensure you dedicate sufficient attention to the corporate framework, ensuring that current projects and programmes are delivered on time and to budget; and it will be essential that you address new ways of working post-COVID. Issues such as staff wellbeing, new use of technology, and the endorsement of a resilient culture will be front and centre.
Members greatly value access to the Chief Executive, and our open-door culture is important part of the way we work.
Candidates should value working in an authority which benefits from well-informed and active members, and of course the relationship between the Chief Executive and our elected Mayor is a crucial part of the role. There will be evening meetings, events and other occasions on which you’ll be expected to be an inspiring advocate for Bedford, and you must also relish the opportunity to be visible and credible with colleagues at the front line.
Candidates may come from a range of backgrounds, but they must have a detailed and current understanding of how a unitary authority works. The complexity of major initiatives underway in the borough, and the level of regional and national scrutiny of e.g. East West Rail and the Oxford Cambridge Arc, mean that candidates should have already worked at a strategic level on (and ideally delivered) large projects with large budgets. High levels of financial and analytical ability are a must.
Finally, candidates must demonstrate that they ‘walk the walk’ of our culture and values. EDI is business-critical for us, and we want a Chief Executive who can express an authentic, nuanced and positive approach to this agenda. For us, leadership is generous, empowering, enabling and has its greatest impact through building effective relationships at every level.
Visit the apply page to register your details, download the full role profile, and view the application process.