Thank you for your interest in becoming part of the Senior Leadership Team here at Wealden.
As we enter the new decade, we have exciting and ambitious years ahead of us. We have decided to create the capacity to deliver our ambitions by extending the Senior Leadership Team.
We think it is a hugely exciting time to join us. My two Directors (Isabel & Averil) and I have only been in post for a year and these new posts arise largely from a restructure that we have put in place to help us achieve great things for our local residents. We are investing in staff and resources to help us deliver this whilst at the same time, we are looking to redesign the Council and the way it operates so that we continue to serve our communities.
We have a huge appetite and energy to succeed in this ambitious programme and are looking for people who can not only deliver for us but also live and breathe our Wealden values. We are a modern, efficient and progressive Council looking for people with new ideas, new ways of working and high levels of aspiration.
We believe in recruiting high performing staff who can manage and get the best from their colleagues and teams. We will be giving you plenty of opportunities to both develop your talents and to shine.
We also expect you to be happy and so we have lots of practices that will help you lead a healthy and balanced life, both within and outside of work. Living in one of the most beautiful parts of the country brings with it plenty of opportunities and we expect you to make the most of them!
In terms of the Council, it’s not by mistake that Wealden is in a good financial position compared to many local authorities and, through a decade or more of carefully managed spending, Wealden has truly transformed the way it operates and provides services to residents. I am hugely proud that our residents recognise that we have continued to provide high quality front line services whilst removing £4m from the annual running costs of the Council.
By embracing the benefits of digital technology, we are able to provide over 100 council services through our online My Wealden portal. This allows busy residents to access council services when and where they want to. It also means our staff are able to spend more time helping vulnerable residents that require personal attention.
When we started our New Build project in 2011, building council houses was seen as unfashionable. I am pleased to say it is not unfashionable now. Through the scheme, we have built 199 new council homes in Wealden, adding to the 3,000 homes we already provide. In 2018, we took a further step and set up our stand-alone housing company, Sussex Weald Homes. It aims to meet the demand from first-time buyers and older down-sizers in rural areas, which we consider is not being met by commercial developers. Our first development is a mix of 34 smaller homes for sale.
It is an uncertain world. Our ambition to be financially self-sufficient is essential if we are to meet a growing demand for public services. Our new crematorium at Horam, which opened in April 2019, and our investment in Hailsham’s Vicarage Field shopping centre, are part of a developing commercial strategy. By investing in our rural communities, we can bring real benefits to local people and provide an income source for the Council away from council tax and business rates.
Alongside this, ongoing sound business management is essential for the Council to provide its wide range of planning, housing and public health services. Driving first class customer service and efficient service delivery are mainstays of what we do.
Our exciting local agenda continues into 2020, alongside the all-important core task of running the Council to benefit our residents. Just to name a few of the things that will keep us all busy this year: our Hailsham Aspires (town centre regeneration project) will progress to an outline planning application (and costing in the region of £100m will be the single biggest investment this Council has ever made); phase 2 of the refreshed drive to digital project; our housing building programme (with Sussex Weald Homes Ltd having sold its first home just before Christmas); and of course, dealing with the impact of the higher housing numbers needed since the outcome of the Local Plan examination. And, I’m sure there will be plenty of unexpected events that we will have to deal with.
We are one of the best placed Councils in the country to meet these challenges and continue to thrive. As one of our new Service Heads or Service Manager, the leadership, knowledge, skills and experience you bring will be vital to delivering many more successes over the next decade.
With 60% of our District being protected land, including the renowned Ashdown Forest in the north of the district and Pevensey Levels in the south, its market towns, award winning villages and beautiful landscape, Wealden remains a great place to live. Residents recognise the important role the Council plays in keeping it that way and independent surveys report that nine out of ten people like living here. We want this to continue.
And we want to celebrate our achievements. In the last couple of years, we have been shortlisted for many national awards, including LGC awards for driving efficiency through technology and, in 2019, for being the most entrepreneurial Council.
These are not roles for someone looking for an easy life. Sustaining those relationships, the momentum, the innovation, the carefully built trust and confidence across our District and continuing to provide valued and quality services demands someone special. Someone who has vision, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, resilience and a determined focus on delivery.
If that’s you, I look forward to your application and the opportunity of working together.