Job Description

Chief executive

Responsible to The Councils of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse
Salary Up to £140,000
Location Milton Park, Oxfordshire

About the role and what we're looking for

Job purpose:

  • as head of paid service to each council, to work in partnership with the leaders and other elected members to provide leadership, vision and strategic direction to each of the councils
  • to ensure that the strategic aims and objectives of each council are met and that all residents receive services which provide service improvement, value for money, and high standards in accordance with each council's policy, budgetary and statutory requirements
  • to manage the evolution of the joint working arrangements of the organisations with each other and with other partners
  • to build and maintain successful internal and external partnerships and relationships, and to oversee each council's communication strategies to promote a positive image of each council to partners, citizens, and national and regional bodies.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • to exercise the duties and responsibilities as head of paid service to each council, providing leadership of the management team necessary to achieve each council's objectives and advising on risk management
  • to work with officers and councillors, securing good working relationships with all members, to ensure that each council's strategic aims and values are clearly understood and are reflected in all that each does
  • to lead and chair the work of the strategic management team in a way which is both consistent with meeting each council's objectives and ensures that a corporate and co-ordinated approach is adopted and maintained in the provision of services
  • to provide the strategic direction and leadership necessary to achieve each council's business and service objectives
  • to be the principal advisor to each council on matters of general policy, securing effective and pro-active forward planning to meet objectives and policies; leading the development; implementation and maintenance of corporate and strategic policies with an emphasis on achievability
  • to manage and maintain a coherent framework of performance management which ensures that senior managers can inspire their staff at each council to perform to the best of their abilities to achieve service priorities
  • to provide a clear direction for the management of human, financial and other resources; to ensure that the workforce of approximately 400 staff under the joint management team acquires and maintains an image as a good and responsible employer; and as a prudent organisation providing value for money to each council
  • to ensure that the employees of each council are aware of the aims and objectives of their council, the standards of behaviour and performance expected of them and the achievements of the separate organisations
  • to participate in the appointment, development and appraisal of other senior officers
  • to ensure that councillors are provided with support and opportunities for personal development and to keep these under review in the interests of enhancing the political process and building upon good relationships within the organisations
  • to act as a trouble-shooter, arbitrator, problem solver and crisis handler
  • to ensure that constructive relationships are developed and maintained between each council and other local authorities, central government, the business and industrial sector and principal community and voluntary organisations
  • to fulfil their responsibilities with regard to each council's policies and procedures, particularly health and safety, equal opportunities, customer care, emergencies, security, work standards and promotion of each council's strategic objectives
  • to represent both councils equally and without bias to all outside bodies
  • to avoid any conflicts at officer level in connection with the policies and activities of each council which may be different as a result of them having different political priorities.

About you


  • demonstrable evidence of leading , inspiring, motivating and challenging a politically sensitive organisation, of comparable scale, to achieve progressively higher standards of service
  • ability to secure good working relationships with both councils' members and officers to ensure the strategic aims and values for each council are clearly reflected in all that each does
  • proven success in using a strong intellect along with high levels of passion and energy to lead and inspire staff at all levels towards a common vision often within challenging organisational circumstances
  • successful history of shaping and then delivering service outcomes around the needs of users while ensuring that value for money and efficiencies are in line with political expectations
  • experience of partnership working with a wide range of communities, partner organisations, private sector providers, public agencies, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities
  • a track record of successful innovation, managing change and associated risks in a demanding and politically sensitive environment
  • demonstrable track record of influencing both internal and external stakeholders to drive up levels of performance and ensure that organisation(s) have the capacity to respond to clear community leadership
  • evidence of having used diversity (in its broadest sense), in a very practical way, to increase levels of organisational performance.

Key competences and behaviours

  • excellent leadership and management skills, including ability to delegate appropriately
  • strong interpersonal skills giving the ability to influence and persuade
  • high level written and oral communication, networking and ambassadorial skills
  • strong personal commitment to the delivery of first-class services
  • vision and creativity
  • ambitious, energetic and highly motivated
  • visible, approachable and accessible
  • aware of own strengths and weaknesses and committed to addressing areas for development
  • resilient, determined and confident.

About us

Our vision and values are important to the councils and we expect you to support them and embed them in the way we work.

Our vision

We are seen as being customer-focussed, approachable and business-like. We are honest and open and are renowned for providing high quality cost effective services.

Our values

  • We act with integrity and show respect
  • We are all accountable
  • We are passionate about our business
  • We strive for simplicity
  • We love success

The benefits we offer

  • 32 days annual leave per annum, plus bank holidays and time off between Christmas and New Year
  • salary pay awards - we review salaries each April
  • a generous career average pension scheme which includes life insurance of three times your salary
  • no car park costs as there's ample free parking available
  • a childcare voucher scheme
  • the opportunity to purchase a bike through the tax efficient Cyclescheme
  • a salary sacrifice car lease scheme - a fully inclusive driving package for a fixed monthly cost
  • various schemes to keep you healthy (reduced gym membership, free swims, contributory medical schemes, wellbeing appointments, free eye tests for DSE users, after work sports clubs and more)
  • we give you two days per year to volunteer within the local community.