CEOs – The buck stops with you

Chief executive of Local Partnerships Adele Gritten says her organisation is producing a CEO blueprint to help local government CEOs navigate the complex landscape they face.

While s151 officers and corporate investment teams have arguably taken a bit of a beating, I've been struck that the importance of the chief executive's role seems to have been overlooked.

Whether that is longstanding CEOs, recent incumbents or trouble-shooters, where is it written – clearly and concisely – what exactly the CEO is supposed to do to ensure best value interventions/s114 notices do not happen in the first place (and if they do, what is the blueprint for swift intervention and remediation)?

Here at Local Partnerships, we are producing a CEO Blueprint based on the playbooks, toolkits and handbooks collateral we already have. We hope that, in some small way, this will help CEOs to navigate the complex Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE) landscape they face.

As head of paid service, there are many obligations CEOs must fulfil statutorily, as well as adhering to best practice. Our blueprint (essentially a CEO-specific version of our wider Commercial Toolkits) will enable CEOs to feel confident they have all the bases covered when it comes to council commerciality.

The blueprint includes summarising fundamental issues of which CEOs need to be aware, such as relevant legislation, the skills needed to ensure their council has the right in-house capacity for developing a commercial culture, capability and appropriate governance arrangements to oversee commercial investments. It will include advice on how to oversee the capability, culture and structure of their services. We also cover charging, trading, investments, market and competition factors that need to be considered when developing any options appraisal or business case.

The blueprint will provide practical support and will be relevant to all CEOs, whether combined authority, county or district chiefs. It's not a panacea and can't replace effective leadership and good management. It will, however, serve as a good reminder that a council's success or failure really stops with you, the CEO.

Adele Gritten is chief executive, Local Partnerships


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