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Proposal to appoint permanent Managing Director

7 September 2021

On 15 September, Full Council is being asked to consider a proposal to appoint a permanent Managing Director for the council.

Read the papers of Full Council

As you will be aware, we appointed Emma Alexander as temporary Managing Executive Director in December 2020. An independent review has now reported that having a temporary Managing Executive Director in place for the past 9 months has demonstrated that a Managing Director leadership model will best enable us to meet future challenges, and that the authority needs to invest in capacity at the most senior level.

If the proposal is approved at Full Council then recruitment to the new permanent role, which will not have the operational responsibilities of managing a council department, will begin shortly. It is proposed that the post of Executive Director for Commissioning, Communities and Policy will remain but will be retitled Executive Director for Corporate Services and Transformation. Collaboration and partnership will continue to be at the heart of our proposed operating model.

Our collective leadership model was right for the challenges of 2017 when it was introduced and continues to deliver benefits in terms of collaborative and transparent decision-making. Collaboration and partnership will continue to be at the heart of our operating model.

As you know, much has changed in local government since 2017 which means we now require a permanent strategic lead officer – a Managing Director – working alongside the Council’s Leader, to ensure that we deliver our ambitious plans and Derbyshire thrives now and in the future.

The county needs strong, accountable senior officer leadership to ensure it has the capacity to face the considerable challenges of the next few years which include leading the post-pandemic economic and social recovery, the integration of health and social care, driving forward Vision Derbyshire to develop a collaborative working model across all local authorities, and harnessing the opportunities that a devolution deal for Derbyshire presents.

If the proposal is approved, the Managing Director will be the ultimate accountable officer and will support the Leader and Executive Directors to represent the council locally, regionally and nationally, ensuring Derbyshire has influence at every level, while reinforcing the partnership between Cabinet and senior officers which is central to our operating model. 

To be at the front of the queue for the opportunities that the changing relationship between local and national government are bringing, Derbyshire needs a strategic lead officer to give it profile and impact at a national level. This proposed approach demonstrates our agility and flexibility as a council, and our determination to do what is right for Derbyshire people, our partner organisations and our communities.

We will keep you up to date as the proposal progresses.