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Case Study - Essex County Council

In May 2013 Veredus was retained by Essex County Council, to conduct an executive search and selection campaign to recruit to the newly created post of Commercial Director

One of the largest local authorities in the country, Essex was about to embark on a major transformation programme. It had already saved £360million pa in recent years, but needed to go further if it was to offer a truly sustainable service to local residents. Essex’s ultimate aim was to become a ‘commissioning-led council’ shifting  away from the traditional ‘we do everything’ model, to recognising that other providers would be able to deliver services more effectively. Separating the commissioning of services from their delivery within the council required a significant change to the organisation’s outlook, approach, process and structure and meant that Essex needed to become an agile organisation, able to flex and adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. 

The function of the Commercial Director role, a senior leadership position within the Council, was to be the commercial expert for the authority, helping Essex create the right conditions for the Commissioning Council model to thrive, and creating the commercial basis for a new form of public/private/voluntary sector relationship. This would mean taking local government procurement as a base, but taking it in directions not tried before. The Director would be expected to manage the supplier market, which would include the creation of new markets, as well as strategically engaging to ensure that the market was ready to meet anticipated future needs. The remuneration for the role was up to £120,000. 

We conducted a major executive search campaign. Having worked with Essex County Council for many years we had an in-depth understanding of the Council, its transformation strategy and the impact of this role, which meant that we had the information and insight to talk credibly about the position and present it as an attractive opportunity to a targeted and senior commercial audience. 

We secured sixteen applications (six search candidates and ten advert), seven of which were progressed to a long list screening interview. These seven (six of whom were search candidates) were then reduced to a final short list of two, both of whom were search candidates, who were then presented to the selection panel. 

The client was extremely pleased with the strength and commerciality of the field generated, and an appointment was made of Andrew Spice, Commercial Director of the Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and former Group Investor Director at the Royal Mail and Head of Financial Services for the Post Office Ltd. Andrew was a Veredus search candidate. 

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