Northamptonshire looking for FD to transform the council

16 Aug 18

Stricken Northamptonshire County Council is looking for a new permanent finance director who will “roll their sleeves up” and is ready to make “hard decisions”.

The local authority is recruiting an executive director of finance who is prepared to take on a “unique challenge” as it looks to make savings of up to £70m, the council’s HR manager has told PF.

Martin Cox, HR manager at the authority, told PF that the council is looking for someone who can find savings through transformation of services.

He said: “The only real way of taking this level of money out of an organisation is to look at its fundamental service delivery and how you can transform them by making hard decisions about where your priorities are.”

Cox said the role should appeal to someone willing to “roll their sleeves up and use their skills in a different way”.

The mood in the council is improving after it recruited new chief executive Theresa Grant, Cox said.

“A couple of months ago people were feeling the effects of being so under the microscope, but there are a lot of people now that are up for the challenge,” he told PF.

“Until decisions are made about where savings are coming from there’s a lot of anxiety because the council provides so many critical services.”

The HR manager said that there has been growing tension as members of the public continue to express concern about where cuts will occur.

Northamptonshire has a statutory duty to provide a number of services including child and adult social services, but recently approved a ‘core offer’, which stripped-down spending to a ‘bare minimum’.  

Cox said: “There are core duties, but that does not mean they can’t be made more efficient.

“There’s a wide brief to come up with ideas and solutions. If core services could be made more efficient through transformation then absolutely that’s something the council will consider.”

The council hopes to begin interviews in mid-September. The job will be advertised from tomorrow.

Image credit: Hazel Nicholson, Flickr Images


January 2018 – Then communities secretary Sajid Javid sends in the inspector Max Caller to investigate the council’s financial management

February 2018 – The council issues the first Section 114 notice in 20 years, banning all spending except on statutory services

February 2018 – The council plans to sell off their brand new headquarters to generate cash

February 2018 – Auditors warn the council’s budget may not be lawful

February 2018 – The council passes a revised budget

March 2018 – Inspector Max Caller publishes report recommending the county is split into two unitaries

March 2018 – Council accepts the report’s findings; leader Heather Smith steps down

March 2018 – Javid announces that the council will continue to make majority of decisions despite government commissioners’ involvement

April 2018 – Matthew Golby appointed new council leader

April 2018 – Leaseback agreement of headquarters is agreed

May 2018 – Council announces plans to set up improvement board

May 2018 – Council balances its books with the use of reserves

May 2018 – Commissioners are announced by new secretary of state James Brokenshire

May 2018 – Auditor’s interim report reveals potential figure of PHE grant repayment

June 2018 – Final sum of misspent PHE grant is settled

July 2018 – CEO and CFO step down

July 2018 – New CEO appointed

July 2018 – Second Section 114 order is issued

August 2018 – Council produces spending ‘action plan’ in response to Section 114

August 2018 – Core spending plan approved by full council.

August 2018 – Council’s plan to close 21 libraries found to be unlawful.

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