20th November 2018
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Authority struggles to fill corporate services role

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Shetland Islands Council has been unable to fill its new job of director of corporate services despite two attempts at recruitment. The post will now be left open while the local authority has a rethink.

The council’s selection panel decided not to make an appointment for the time being even though it recently carried out intensive interviews of candidates on a short list. That was after a first attempt to recruit from within the council’s ranks failed to find the right person and it was decided to advertise nationally.

The job is arguably the most high-powered in the local authority below that of chief executive Alistair Buchan. It involves managing not just the council’s complex finances but the capital programme of building works, the IT division and the local authority’s staff.

The setback means the council still does not have its top management team in place for the process of driving forward its restructured regime and hunting down savings in its operating costs.

The other four directors are Helen Budge of the children’s service, Christine Ferguson of community care, Neil Grant of development and the only new face, Phil Crossland, who is moving from England to take over at infrastructure.

Mr Buchan said the selection panel had decided to “take a little more time” to look at options for covering the corporate post despite the “impressive” standard of the recent applicants.

He said: “It’s very important that we don’t rush this process. We need to find the right person for this crucial job.”

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