Camden’s search for an ‘inspirational yet humble’ chief executive

RETIRING chief executive Mike Cooke had reason to blush at the last full’s council meeting when every councillor took to their feet applauding his service at the Town Hall. The sound might be terrible in the clip stolen from the sidelines below, but you can see the enthusiasm in the clapping…

On announcing his retirement last month, Mr Cooke suggested it would take six months to recruit a successor and the process is well under way. Despite the tough climate for anybody connected to local government, this is still a highly-coveted role at a high-profile local authority and Camden should have a wide choice of candidates. It surely must have done on the last occasion the chief officer vacancy came up, when Dame Moira Gibb departed in 2011, but decided to appoint from within. The cross-party commendations for Mr Cooke suggest this was a wise move. Maybe it will again, but the council is currently appealing for candidates to come forward, asking for an “inspirational yet humble” leader to make themselves known in their job ad.

Ahead of a November 11 deadline, there is a full multimedia package for interested parties to digest, with council leader Georgia Gould talking to camera about what she thinks the council needs; set to annoying hold music and interspersed with clips of busy looking comms team members and old footage of Camden (presumably shot around 2016 due to the way Camden High Street looks and the Hateful Eight billboards).

It is cheesy and slightly awkward – and too long – but Cllr Gould is more or less accurate when she says: “We’ve got a really vibrant and active voluntary sector, local press and residents who get involved, they agitate, they campaign, they volunteer, and always make their voice heard. And we’ve got this history of political and social activism, from the suffragettes through to the tenants movement. What we sometimes like to call in Camden ‘our rebellious spirit.”

The coming weeks and months, of course, will tell how rebellious the council will be staring down the Universal Credit rollout and more testing cuts to its budget.

Cllr Gould’s search for a chief exec video below:

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