Recruitment adverts for senior posts are about spin, showing the organisation in the best possible light, portraying the LA the way the members would like to be seen . Which is a shame because the unfiltered phraseology and uncensored language of members would give a more realistic picture of what it would be like to work along side these councillors.
I ‘m thinking of Bob the rather gruff, plain speaking, ex miner, cabinet member.
His advert would be short to the point and jargon free. He wants a grafter.
Councillor H, successful business man and Leader, has no time for some of his colleagues never mind the opposition. He thinks LAs need to be more business like, need fewer managers and need to focus on results. He is seeking to appoint someone with entrepreneurial skills and commercial acumen.
Then there is the seasoned councillor and cabinet member who talks a lot about the caring role of the authority for both staff and service users. She is fiercely protective of social services. She describes her ideal candidate as a “ people person”.
The fourth member of the recruitment panel is a former MEP who thinks he is a cut above and chairs the O &S committee where he puts officers firmly in their place. He considers himself a professional forced to work with amateurs. He expects officers to do the bidding of their political masters. He is adamant that the successful candidate must view the role as that of a civil servant with the emphasis on “Servant”.
The finally member of the panel is the slightly batty but kindly elder stateswoman who leads the minority group. She always seems to be one step behind until she is two steps ahead. She talks a lot about about empowering citizens. She has considerable influence amongst members across parties and a long memory. In her view it’s time to a point a woman.
Non of this will be reflected in the advert drafted by the recruitment consultants, top and tailed by HR following a briefing from the leader and chief executive.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk