Bristol City Council – How we recruited the manager at the heart of a mayor’s vision

SOLUTION HIGHLIGHTS

  • SUCCESSFULLY RECRUITING IN A COMPETITIVE SECTOR
  • NAVIGATING SMALL CANDIDATE POOL FOR THE LEADER THE CLIENT NEEDED
  • IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE WILLING TO RELOCATE

SCOPE AND SCALE

The Council’s Housing Delivery Plan identified a need for 800 new affordable homes per year. The Housing Strategy and Enabling Manager provides the strategic leadership to develop, enable and deliver this ambitious annual programme.


This role is all about sharing responsibility for affordable housing strategy across the public and private sectors. We needed to find a professional who could build great relationships in both areas and work collaboratively with partners and local communities. A persuasive advocate of the need for more homes to meet real human needs – today and tomorrow.

SITUATION

We were looking for an individual with in-depth knowledge of town planning policy and regulations; a qualified Chartered Town Planner (RTPI) or Chartered Surveyor (RICS) with membership of a relevant association. Finding an impressive professional working at the scope and scale of a large Unitary Authority was the key challenge. This person had to hit the ground running
in a new structure.

SOLUTION

The hiring manager brief highlighted three essential search criteria:

  • Detailed knowledge of housing and planning legislation in local authority and housing association sectors
  • Proven leadership track record in a local authority, housing association or housing organisation
  • Exceptional stakeholder management skills to advocate for the housing sector at a local, regional and national level

Candidates who met the first two criteria were numerous.
But most lacked the senior stakeholder experience. So we searched at a national level, positioning Bristol as a city where people could make a real impact on reducing inequality through housing strategy. This message really resonated. And we found good levels of gender diversity in the field. The final shortlist of four had a 50/50 male/female ratio.

RESULTS

We found healthy numbers of potential candidates in similar roles in other councils and housing associations, but few were willing to consider a new role at the time of the search.
Nevertheless, and shortlist of four excellent professionals was created and the role was filled with the outstanding candidate. They start in July 2020.