Welcome and thank you for your interest.
This is a unique opportunity to make a significant impact across two London boroughs of over half a million residents. If you would like to join us and help accelerate our strong progress to date, then we would love to hear from you.
Discover more about the role on the rest of the site, we hope it inspires you to apply to become our new Chief Executive.
More than half a million residents, iconic landmarks, huge regeneration schemes and just about every kind of neighbourhood you can think of – the job of overseeing Richmond and Wandsworth Councils and their Shared Staffing Arrangement has it all. But perhaps what really sets this role apart is the chance to take forward a success story that’s seen two contrasting London boroughs pioneer new levels of joint working. Over the last six years, Richmond and Wandsworth have developed a significant joint, flexible, talented and committed workforce. It’s led to the creation of one of the biggest organisations in local government, covering a large part of South West London from Wandsworth’s diverse, urban and vibrant communities to Richmond upon Thames, one of the capital’s greenest boroughs.
The next Chief Executive will therefore require a particularly impressive track record and skill set to succeed in such a challenging and wide-ranging role, and to navigate the post COVID opportunities and challenges in both boroughs. Finding a way to meet the differing needs and priorities of the two boroughs is absolutely vital, according to both Councils’ leaders. ‘It needs to be somebody who has a clear focus on the needs and expectations of the residents in both Boroughs, with an easy manner and open approach who is available both formally and when needed,’ explains Cllr Ravi Govinda, leader of Wandsworth Council.
‘Our supportive approach to the people who work for us and to members and partners has been a key to success,’ says Richmond’s leader Cllr Gareth Roberts – adding that the Chief Executive and senior team recognise the need to be available to both boroughs, and they work hard to make that happen.
Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth are contrasting boroughs. The latter has a young and ever-changing population and is home to some of inner London’s biggest developments and estate regeneration. In Nine Elms, the recently opened Northern Line extension will enhance connectivity in an area that includes the regenerated Battersea Power Station, home to Apple’s London Campus, a new US Embassy and New Covent Garden Market. In Richmond upon Thames, where the demographic is older and more stable, one of the main challenges is to work with developers to speed up the supply of new homes in an outer London borough where land is in short supply. However, despite the obvious contrasts, it’s rather more complex than that. ‘There’s a world of difference between Teddington and Tooting,’ says Cllr Roberts. ‘There are stark differences. But Richmond upon Thames isn’t just a middle-class enclave – that’s a stereotype. It’s not a homogenous, wealthy green borough but very much a mix of communities. ‘The real trick for Richmond upon Thames is to ensure that services are delivered to the standard that residents expect while coming up with ideas for how services could be delivered to an even better level of quality.’ He adds: ‘What we also want is the critical friend – someone calm and dispassionate. Not going up against each other, but who will ask whether that’s where we should be going – and if the answer’s yes, then working with us to do it.’
One thing the boroughs have in common is a determination to address climate change – both boroughs have strong climate change strategies and action plans in place. A key challenge for the next chief executive will be to ensure the councils play a place-shaping role and enable residents, businesses and other partners to play their part in meeting climate change pledges, says Cllr Govindia.
The collaboration has proved its worth in terms of reducing costs and delivering high quality services and value for money while over coming numerous hurdles, including a change of administration in Richmond and ongoing financial pressures. It has ‘a certain cache’ in the world of local government, says Cllr Govinda. ‘It’s half a million residents and a budget to match covering all the way from central London to the outer edges. It’s one of the biggest entities in local government. But there’s more to it than just that – it’s an experiment that’s delivering at scale and while we can never be complacent, it gives us a base for further innovation. ‘I think it’s going to be an opportunity for an exceptional person who wants to make an exceptional contribution to the future of local government and set a model that might transform how local services are delivered across the country.’
Given the high-profile and complex nature of the role, it will be someone who is comfortable working with Central Government, the wider public sector, businesses and other key partners and making the most of the opportunities those connections can bring. The ideal candidate will also be the kind of person who embraces the spirit of innovation that Richmond and Wandsworth have become synonymous with. ‘It needs to be someone who genuinely enjoys the job and will come in, look at problems and be willing to try something new and think creatively about it,’ says Cllr Roberts. ‘I like people who are prepared to fail now and again and learn from it.’ Cllr Govindia adds: ‘In terms of a public sector role that involves hands on experience, this is the one. It’s probably the largest and most attractive job in local government on the market at the moment.’
Richmond and Wandsworth Councils: Describe your community in three words