Director of Governance
(Legal & Democratic Services inc. Monitoring Officer)
City of York Council

Director of Governance (Legal & Democratic Services inc. Monitoring Officer) - City of York Council

Salary: £87,623 to £97,149 plus relocation package
Contract: Permanent
Location: York

Welcome - thank you for your interest in our role

York: A modern city rich in culture and heritage, regularly voted as one of the top places Britons want to live!

Our successful and diverse economy remains one of the strongest in the North of England, the city continues to be one of the safest places to live and the Sunday Times has recognised our schools as the best in the North, where our young people continue to achieve excellent results at A-level and GCSE. Outstanding childcare is within 30 minutes of anywhere in this city.

We are looking for a Director of Governance to play a fundamental role in driving change, helping define our future direction, influencing key stakeholders and delivering service improvements that will raise City of York Council’s reputation, locally, nationally and internationally.

This crucial new role will support Councillors and Officers to successfully deliver our priorities and ensure that they meet statutory requirements.

This new role has been created to strengthen and improve the Council’s approach to governance, ensuring high standards of governance are maintained throughout the organisation. With a newly formed political administration, this presents an exciting opportunity for the post holder to shape, strengthen, influence and further develop a strong ethical governance framework, working in conjunction with Members and Officers.

This is an excellent opportunity for a progressive leader to address the challenges of local government and build the reputation of City of York Council. This role will play a vital role in driving change and influencing key stakeholders.

As a pivotal member of our corporate management team, you will directly support the Chief Executive to actively contribute to the strategic management of the Council and ensure the success of our corporate aims and objectives.

You will work collaboratively with other partners in the wider city and regional governance systems; building strong external relationships to certify robust and transparent governance arrangements for the Council and to make the most of opportunities for residents and communities.

We are proud to be home to active and engaged residents together with passionate and committed elected members; transparency and ethical standards are critical to our success and must stand up to the rigor of positive challenge. There is a significant opportunity to harness the voice of our residents; as the customer experience is central to tackling the challenges we face.

The post holder will be responsible for the following Council services:

  • Legal Services including Complaints, Standards, Audit, FOIs and data protection
  • Civic and Democratic services
  • Electoral Services

As a pivotal member of our Corporate Management Team the post holder will have collective responsibility for corporate leadership.

Legal and Democratic services is principally responsible for ensuring the legality of the Council’s operations and decision-making and providing high quality support to elected Members, the Council, the Executive, Committees, the Chief Executive, Directorates and external clients, as well as supporting all democratic processes.

It is also responsible for supporting the promotion of high ethical standards within the organisation.

Legal and Democratic Services are at the heart of everything that the Council thinks and does; responsible for:

  • Ensuring that decisions taken by Members and Officers are effective and lawful;
  • Supporting the delivery of the Council’s services and projects;
  • Maintaining, promoting and monitoring high ethical standards for Members and Officers;
  • Providing support to elected Members;
  • Managing elections; and
  • Providing high-quality legal advice and representation for the Council whilst working in partnership.

Following the recent local elections, members are currently resetting the Council's priorities for the next four years, establishing a new Council Plan. With a newly formed administration for the next four years this presents an exciting opportunity for the post holder.

The Council is always looking to put residents first. We want to celebrate and champion the diversity of our population and encourage everyone to play an active role in the city. In achieving this aim, we work closely with all public sector bodies in the city and the region to achieve the best York.

It’s an exciting time to be part of City of York Council. We’re starting the process of working with our politicians to shape a new four year Council Plan that will place emphasis on service delivery. We are looking for a talented and ambitious individual who can make a personal impact on the changes to our organisation and leave a professional legacy in York.

This pivotal senior position joins us at a time when we have strong leadership with great ambition for the future of our Council and for the city itself.

If you are interested in meeting the challenge, enhancing your career and making your mark in York then we look forward to receiving your application.

City of York Council

▼ About City of York Council

Who are we?

Together with its partners, City of York Council serves over 200,000 residents in and around York. Local communities depend on the statutory services we deliver and our people are proud to keep York clean, safe, productive and resilient. A strong council can also be an empowering force - transforming lives, communities and generations. We deliver lots of important but little-known services that are making a big difference to those who need them.

Where are we going?

Regardless of the financial constraints we know we need to change. Residents tell us they want services that are joined-up, easy to access, and responsive to their needs. Communities tell us they want more control over their future and their local areas. Fast forward to 2020 and beyond and City of York Council will be markedly different to what it is now. More streamlined, focused and agile, we will be able to deliver more with less, thanks to the big changes we make today.

Our values

Even as we change, our values are everlasting. Collectively and as individuals, our values guide our behaviour and the decisions we make every day.

As a Council we:

  • Work together - share information and knowledge, care about and respect other views, support and encourage each other and our communities.
  • Improve - challenge what we do and how we can do it better, try new ways of doing things and learn from our experiences, feedback and mistakes, with an underlying ambition for our communities.
  • Make a difference - are honest about what we achieve, deliver our commitments, communicate openly and make our actions count.

These values not only guide us in the day-to-day, but in our decision-making processes and how we effectively plan for the future.

▼ Working for City of York Council

The Council is made up of passionate and determined problem-solvers working together for the benefit of York. We invest heavily in our staff, providing them with an environment in which they can flourish.

The way in which we do this comes in many forms. As an organisation we promote professional development, remote working, employer supported volunteering and healthy working environments. We also offer a generous benefits package which includes; flexi-time, term-time and part-time working options, 30 days annual leave increasing to 35 days upon completion of 5 years local government service, access to the Local Government Pension Scheme together with high street discounts and salary sacrifice schemes.

Being a people-centred organisation means investing in the talent and wellbeing of our staff and there are many different ways in which we make this happen, including:

  • Providing work which gives you the chance to make a difference to the lives of residents and colleagues;
  • Supportive management, who enable you to thrive and fulfil your potential;
  • Recognition for your hard work, through talent management and staff awards;
  • Support through the changing environment we are all living in;
  • Flexible working practices; and
  • A reward package which recognises your contribution.

Great people are at the heart of everything we do. We realise that great people provide great services. For this reason we look for individuals who are motivated, resourceful, accountable, honest, skilled, caring and engaged. Above all, you must be passionate about making a difference to the lives of our residents and the experiences of visitors.

If this sounds like you we look forward to receiving your application.

▼ New to York?

For those new to York, we are a vibrant, digital city at the heart of Yorkshire and everything that has to offer; the best of tradition and the modern. With excellent connectivity by road and rail, the neighbouring towns and cities of Leeds, Hull, Harrogate, Northallerton and Middlesbrough are in easy reach. National Parks and areas of areas outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep, with their quaint villages and market towns, whilst the Yorkshire coast provides a coastal retreat ideal for those sunny days.

We are known for our considerable assets - our international important heritage, our strengths as a science city, our creative industries and cultural offer, our digital infrastructure, the UK’s first Gigabit City, our young and highly skilled workforce, our world-leading universities and some of the highest performing schools and colleges in the country.

Our thriving retail and visitor economy welcome seven million unique visitors every year. We have recently been recognised as the ‘foodie centre of the universe’ and our Christmas market is the best in the UK. Throughout 2018, we were awarded Sunday Times best place to live, Conde Nast city of best architecture and the most friendly, most community-spirited, most festive and most summer-friendly city, and YouGov found that we are Britain’s favourite city.

We are ambitious, confident and aim to be a prosperous city for all - where local businesses can thrive and residents have good quality jobs, housing, opportunities and access to quality public services. Our vibrant economy and rich communities make York the acclaimed city it is.

We celebrate and champion the diversity of our population and encourage everyone to play an active role in the city. In achieving this aim, we work closely with all public and private sector organisations in the city to make sure we get value for money services. We are transparent in what we do, including clear engagement with communities.

If you are relocating to the area to take up the post we will provide relation support, see details below.

▼ About the role

Job title: Director of Governance (Legal & Democratic Services inc. Monitoring Officer)
Location: York
Contract: Permanent
Salary: £87,623 to £97,149 plus relocation package

We are looking for an exceptional legal professional with strong leadership, vision and integrity; to help define our future direction, influence key stakeholders and support service improvement. You will lead the governance framework and the Council’s decision making processes to ensure effective and timely decisions are made in accordance with the law and Council Constitution.

This new role has been created to strengthen and improve the Council’s approach to governance, ensuring high standards are maintained throughout the organisation.

In this crucial role you will support Councillors in carrying out their roles as elected Members, and will work closely with the Chief Executive as a pivotal part of the Council’s Corporate Management Board.

This post is being recruited to on a permanent basis and requires the post holder to have significant senior legal experience gained by working within the public sector and in a political environment. You must also hold a practising certificate as a qualified legal professional.

As well as being responsible for the legal and democratic services you will undertake the duties of the statutory Monitoring Officer, with accountability of being the council’s moral compass, ensuring high ethical standards and the aptitude to ensure we ‘do the right thing’ as an organisation. You will provide strategic leadership and support to members and officers in order to enable effective decisions to be made and ensuring compliance across the council by championing good governance.

Being a pivotal member of our Corporate Management Team you will have an opportunity to shape, influence and strengthen the wider council and change agenda; working in close partnership with the Chief Executive to ensure that corporate objectives and Council needs are met.

We are looking for a solicitor with a proven track record and experience in delivering successful, highly professional legal and democratic services. You will have experience of managing a legal service across a wide range of disciplines in a complex organisation and have experience of working with an executive model and elected members. With a clear vision of success you will have a passion for significant challenges and a track record of delivering highly respected, robust services. Specifically, you will have significant local government experience and a track record of delivering successful civic, democratic and electoral services.

Whilst we are a high performing authority, we are experiencing challenges and complexities like all Local Authorities. In York, you will have the opportunity to experience a career which builds on strong foundations of success; strong economic growth and regeneration opportunities, high performance, and a rich and diverse range of expertise. In York, a compact city with rural communities, you really can tackle the challenges head on.

If appointed, you will join us at a time of great ambition and optimism. If you are determined to make a difference in a world-class city, working in a challenging yet rewarding role; we look forward to receiving your application.

Key documents

Contact us

For an informal confidential discussion about this opportunity, we encourage applicants to contact Sarah France-Gorton from Resourcing Solutions on 01609 798106 or via email

Apply now

To apply please send your CV including a personal statement in one Microsoft Word document to by midnight on Sunday 22 September 2019.

It is important that your CV includes: your full contact details (telephone, email, address), full employment history (name of employer, job titles, dates of employment and salary), full education history (qualification, grade, dates and place of study), explanation of any gaps in employment and the contact details of at least two referees including your current / most recent employer indicating whether you consent to us contacting each referee prior to interview.

Your personal statement should outline your motivation for applying and how you meet the criteria for the role.

We will not accept applications from agencies.

This is a politically restricted post as defined by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

Key dates

Closing date: Midnight on Sunday 22 September 2019
Shortlisting date: week commencing Monday 23 September 2019
Assessment date: Thursday 17 October 2019
Interview date: week commencing Monday 21 October 2019

Your privacy

City of York Council is committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services. Please refer to our Privacy Statement which explains how we use information about you and how we protect your privacy.

City of York Council, August 2019

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