Interviews take place for new Northants County Council chief executive

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The interviews for a new chief executive for Northamptonshire County Council have taken place.

Four candidates were put through their paces yesterday by the council’s two commissioners and the authority’s cabinet members.

The successful candidate will be unveiled at the full council meeting next Thursday (July 19). The full council will vote whether to accept the recommendation of the panel.

The acting chief executive Andrew Quincey resigned last week along with the chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin. Mr Quincey had only been in post for a few months and is taking up a new role in Australia. Mr McLaughlin joined NCC in December and shortly afterwards issued a 114 notice warning that the council may not be able to balance its books.

Council leader Matt Golby said at this afternoon’s cabinet meeting at One Angel Square: “We have had some very good candidates and we will make an announcement shortly.”

The authority, which is set to be scrapped in 2020 following severe financial mismanagement, has had three people in the chief executive role since October last year.

Paul Blantern became chief executive in 2010 and presided over the ‘next generation model’ which aimed to create a series of social enterprise companies to provide council services.

The first two which were set up, Olympus Care and First for Wellbeing, have been discontinued  and plans to move children’s services into a similar enterprise have also been scrapped.

Consultant Damon Lawrenson took up the role after Mr Blantern’s departure. 

Mr Lawrenson, who also acted as chief finance officer at the authority prior to taking on the top job, was on holiday when the 114 notice was issued and left by mutual consent in March this year.

The council needs to make £35m worth of savings this year and is already publicly saying that a large percentage of savings earmarked cannot be made.

It has said plans to make £600,000 savings by reducing petrol expenses for staff are definitely not achievable as well as well as £485,000 of planned savings by letting out office space at its new headquarters, One Angel Square.

Sarah Ward

Local Democracy Reporter