INTERVIEWS for the next chief executive of St Helens Council will take place next month.

The council began its search for a permanent chief executive in October following the shock departure of Mike Palin.

The deadline for applications has now passed and a council spokesman has confirmed that interviews for the post will take place in early December.

Whoever takes on the role will be asked to steer the council through one of the most challenging and uncertain periods in the borough’s history.

The chosen candidate will command a salary between £148,000 to 160,000, but what exactly is the council looking for in its new chief executive?

According to the job advert, the council is seeking an “experienced, dynamic individual” who will help “deliver the services, and the changes, our borough demands”.

The candidate will be expected to have “significant senior local government experience, excellent communication skills, strong political understanding, and the ability to deliver results and find solutions”.

“Like all local authorities, particularly here in the North of England, we face challenges,” the job advert says.

“In recent years we have had to respond and adapt as central government funding has been significantly cut, and we are on an important journey to improve children’s services.

“Against this backdrop, we are looking for a new chief executive who can refresh and revitalise the organisation – someone who can inspire people, who can form strong partnerships with our many stakeholders, work closely with elected members, and lead change while bringing people with them.

“An initial task will be supporting the recruitment of several senior posts in the authority, so this is also a chance to build your own top team.”

St Helens Star: St Helens Council parted ways with chief executive Mike Palin in October St Helens Council parted ways with chief executive Mike Palin in October

The new chief executive will lead “high quality, loyal and dedicated staff” as well as working with an “energetic and fresh political leadership which is determined to get things done”.

They will also get to work with staff on the council’s award-winning health and care integration service, St Helens Cares, and will play a key role in developing and implementing the ‘One Council’ modernisation programme.

As St Helens is well positioned geographically between Liverpool and Manchester, there will be “exciting opportunities” for regeneration and growth in the borough, the advert says.

The council will also have a “huge opportunity” to influence public policy and budgets through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

“A key part of this role will be to maximise the benefits to St Helens from the city region, which is at the leading edge of the public service growth and reform agenda,” the job advert says.

The advert concludes by saying St Helens is “open for business and poised for great success”.

Until a permanent chief executive is found, Harry Catherall will continue in his role as interim chief executive.

Mr Catherall joined the council last month after retiring as chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in May.

The council is also expected to begin the recruitment process for a new strategic director for place services and assistant chief executive.

This follows the departure of interim assistant chief executive Keith Ireland and the impending retirement of deputy chief executive Paul Sanderson, who has agreed to continue to work for the council during this transition period.

A council spokesman said the chief executive post is due to be ratified on December 16.