HEREFORDSHIRE Council went nationwide to find a new director of resources – but appointed an applicant already in house.

Interim chief financial officer Peter Robinson is to take up the substantive post - and a salary worth just over £98,000 a year - from next month.

The role was pitched as part of a recruitment package costing around £36,300 and taking in two other top jobs.

Together, the three roles collectively attracted salaries worth nearly £300,000.

As the director of resources, Mr Robinson will continue to lead on finance with HR, property services, and IT now included in the role.

Today, the council confirmed that Mr Robinson was the “unanimous choice” of its employment panel having worked as chief financial officer on an interim basis since September 2013 helping steer the council through major service change and a balanced 2015/15 budget.

Prior to joining Herefordshire Council, Mr Robinson was chief financial officer at Bristol City Council.

In April, the Hereford Times revealed the council as ready to shell out a five figure sum to recruit three top bosses on salaries collectively worth nearly £300,000.

 Director of resources was one of those roles.

The others were director adults and wellbeing and assistant director (commissioning) adults and wellbeing.

Costs for recruitment and selection to the three posts were estimated at £36,300 which the council says can be covered by existing budgets.

The recruitment process was approved by the employment panel  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 were sought by the council with West Midlands Employers (WME) - recruiting for  councils and the wider public sector  appointed, partnering with specialist executive search consultants Veredus.

It was advice from WME that prompted the parallel recruitment campaign for the posts of director of adults and wellbeing and the directorate’s assistant director (commissioning).

WME also ruled out a “full colour” campaign for recruiting a director of resources.

Instead, the role received a advertisement in the Municipal Journal directing candidates to a specially set up information site.

Details of the vacancy were also circulated to regional employers organisations.

Other roles were targeted for “full colour, prime positioning” advertisements for both posts in the Municipal Journal, accompanied by an interview with chief executive Alistair Neill.

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.