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Case Study - Medway Council


Medway Council - Director of Children's & Adult Services, Assistant Director Children’s Social Care & Assistant Director Partnership Commissioning

Veredus has supported Medway Council, a unitary authority in North Kent, with a number of senior appointments over the past six years. In 2012 we were engaged to specifically provide executive search support to the appointment of a Director of Children's & Adult Services, a new post which brought together the former roles of DCS and DASS with their respective statutory responsibilities as well as the requirement to make a full contribution to the corporate leadership of the organisation. There were significant challenges within Children's Services and, given the size of Medway Council, the remuneration available was not over-generous.

Through a comprehensive, diligent and national search, we identified seven candidates and from this cohort three candidates were shortlisted for formal interview with Elected Members. The preferred candidate was Barbara Peacock who was the current Corporate Director for People at Sandwell MBC in the West Midlands and, prior to that, she had been Deputy Director for Children’s Services at the London Borough of Croydon. Her appointment was a positive and unanimous decision by Medway’s Elected Members.

Earlier this year, we supported Medway with the appointment of two members of Barbara Peacock’s team. The first role, that of Assistant Director Children’s Social Care and responsible for safeguarding and child protection, was particularly challenging since Medway were under a Notice of Improvement from Ofsted in respect of Children’s Services. Nonetheless, we were able to generate eighteen applications through a combination of executive search and focused advertising. Of the eighteen applicants, seven were interviewed at longlist stage with four making the cut to the shortlist. The successful candidate was Phil Watson who was previously Head of Disabled Children’s Services and Assistant Director Children’s Integrated Care. He was employed in a joint post (hence the job title) by the London Borough of Islington and Whittington Health Trust (previously NHS Islington). 

Most recently, we have helped Medway appoint to the new post of Assistant Director Partnership Commissioning. This is a role which is employed by the Council but extends across Medway’s Clinical Commissioning Group and is responsible for commissioning activity across children’s and adult services and into health and well-being. We generated a field of nine candidates through executive search and Medway conducted a discrete advertising campaign. Four candidates were shortlisted and the preferred candidate was Helen Jones, the current Head of Strategic Commissioning at Kent County Council. Previously she was Service Head for Youth & Community Learning at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. 

Our work with Medway demonstrates the access and reach that diligent search, professionally executed, brings to a recruitment assignment. Search beyond the usual suspects and engaging people for the more challenging assignments is one of the facets of our approach which differentiates Veredus as a firm and enables us to secure talented individuals for our clients. If it would be helpful, I am sure Medway would be prepared to vouch for our approach and the results we have delivered for them in these three challenging mandates.

Jonathan Clark

29 July 2013 

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