HEREFORDSHIRE Council is ready to shell out a five figure sum to recruit three top bosses on salaries collectively worth nearly £300,000.

Short listing assessment for the posts of director adults and wellbeing, director of resources and assistant director (commissioning) adults and wellbeing  is due in the week immediately prior to the council election on May 7.

The costs of recruitment and selection to the three posts - currently held by interim appointments - amount to £36,300 which the council says can be covered by existing budgets.

As reported by the Hereford Times, recruitment to the posts was approved the council’s employment panel when it met in January.

For two of the posts - director of resources and director of adults and wellbeing - the panel is the responsible body in relation to recruitment.

The tight deadline had the panel asked to delegate authority for short listing approval to director of economy, communities and corporate Geoff Hughes, when it met on March 31.

In February, full council approved the annual salary for the director of adult and wellbeing as £120,000.

The salary for director of resources is currently listed at £98,040 and that for assistant director (commissioning) adults and wellbeing at £80,132.

Three quotations for specialist recruitment expertise have been sought by the council.

West Midlands Employers (WME) - recruiting for  councils and the wider public sector - have been appointed to provide this support.

On advice from WME, there will be a parallel recruitment campaign for the posts of director of adults and wellbeing and the directorate’s assistant director (commissioning).

The Hereford Times understands that the campaign will feature “full colour, prime positioning” advertisements for both posts in the Municipal Journal, accompanied by an interview with chief executive Alistair Neill.

Widespread online advertising is also planned.

WME has partnered with specialist executive search consultants Veredus on the campaign.

Recruiting a director of resources won’t get the “full colour” treatment, ruled out by WME as “not essential”.

Instead, the initial stages of the campaign start with a quarter page in the Municipal Journal directing candidates to a specially set up information site.

In addition to accompanying on-line advertising, details of the vacancy will be circulated to regional employers organisations.

To meet the council’s timetable, short listing assessment needs to take place during the week immediately preceding the election.

In that context, it was recommended that the present employment panel delegate the approval of the shortlist of candidates for final interview to Mr Hughes, in consultation with the chief executive.

This will enable the newly constituted employment panel to meet as soon as is practically possible following the first meeting of the new full council on May 22.

In January, the Hereford Times revealed that Herefordshire Council was ready to pay some £60,000 to recruit a new set of permanent senior managers on salaries into six figures to replace existing interim roles.

The other role to be recruited was director of public health.

Over the year, the council will review posts filled by agency staff and recruitment to those posts where they are key long-term roles.

Behind the scenes, the council has considered continuing with interim arrangements, an option over-ruled by an acknowledged need for stability in organisational leadership.

The redesigning of roles and responsibilities to combine chief officer functions has also been considered but not pursued as significant reduction in the senior team has already taken place, limiting the scope for further combination.

Overtures to neighbouring councils about shared chief officer roles have not progressed, with no workable models emerging.