ROTHERHAM Council hopes face-to-face interviews will be possible as it begins recruiting a new £140,000 children’s services director.
The process is expected to cost more than £20,000 and RMBC hopes to have its successful candidate in post by mid-October.
The appointment follows the ill health retirement of previous department chief Jon Stonehouse after about two years in the post.
A modified recruitment protocol has been agreed in light of Covid-19, including the option to conduct early assessment stages virtually.
Cllr Gordon Watson, cabinet member for children’s services, paid tribute to the efforts of the interim director Sally Hodges.
He said: “This is a crucial appointment. It’s my sincere hope that by the time we get around to interviews, we will be really interviewing rather than having to do it virtually.”
Addressing a staffing committee meeting held digitally last Thursday (14), Cllr Watson added: “There’s a certain amount of nuances that you lose with meetings like this.”
Lee Mann, the council’s assistant director for HR, said the costs would include a two-week handover period — when both the interim and new post holder would be paid — at a cost of £7,000.
He added: “It would ensure the continuity of the service and make sure that the successful candidate was fully up to speed in terms of the significant challenges facing the service, and budget constraints.
“The current timeline in terms of recruitment includes procurement of an executive search company to support selection, at a cost of around £15,000.”
Adverts will go out in late May or early June, with the final interviews to take place in mid-July. A three-month notice period is assumed, giving a likely start date of mid-October.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “It’s an absolutely critical role for the local authority after the sad ailments and ill health retirement of Jon Stonehouse. I’m keen that we proceed at pace to move on with the appointment process.”
The recruitment panel with include the council leader and deputy, chair of scrutiny and the leader of the opposition. Extra members will be picked by the leader to ensure diversity.
Mr Stonehouse succeeded Ian Thomas, who took over from Joyce Thacker in 2015 after the Jay report and Rotherham’s CSE scandal.