Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

Newcastle City Council leaders are pulling out all the stops to attract high calibre candidates for the newly created pounds 120,000-a-year post of director of children's services.

Not only is the proposed salary package pounds 20,000 higher than that of other members of the executive team, and not only are they splashing out pounds 50,000 on consultants to help them head-hunt the best people, they are also planning to showcase the city to candidates and their partners.

If councillors agree, there will be a reception followed by a guided tour of the city then an overnight stay in a hotel.

The aim is to show the candidates what Newcastle has to offer and give council chiefs a chance to size them up in informal surroundings outside pressures of the interview room.

The new post is needed as part of the Government's strategy to safeguard children following the Victoria Climbie abuse scandal in London.

Councils across the country are now in competition to attract top people.

However, it wouldn't be the first time Newcastle Council has arranged these "at-home" events. It's becoming a regular feature when candidates apply for top jobs at the Civic Centre.

In a report to councillors, chief executive Ian Stratford, says: "This provides an opportunity to meet informally to discuss the challenges in Newcastle, showcase the best that Newcastle has to offer, and encourage the best to come to Newcastle."

EMBARRASSMENT all round yesterday when Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott took a ride on the Metro.

Accompanied by Metro director Ken Mackay and Coun David Bollands of the Tyne & Wear Transport Authority, Mr Prescott was forced to wait on the crowded platform at Newcastle Central Station for nearly 10 minutes because the train was late following a problem with the signals.

When it finally arrived, the doors wouldn't open and he had to be rushed to another part of the train to get on board and join passengers crammed into the carriage for his short hop to the Haymarket where he got off for a walkabout in the city centre.

Mr Prescott, who was in the region to back the North East Assembly campaign, made light of the problems and had nothing but praise for the system as he chatted to reporters. …

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