Assistant Director of Housing and Community Safety
City of York Council

Sharon Houlden - Corporate Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care

Assistant Director of Housing and Community Safety

Salary: £71,521 to £79,459 per year, plus relocation allowance
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 people want to live!

I am looking for an influential leader for the truly place shaping role of Assistant Director of Housing and Community Safety.

Let me tell you about York…

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 great city.

York has a legacy of pioneering approaches to housing stretching for over a century; starting with Joseph Rowntree who provided community housing and was committed to understanding the root causes of social problems in order to create a better society.

We have retained this ambition for the city. Today we maintain and regenerate 7,500 social housing properties and are building 600 environmentally efficient, carbon neutral new homes, 40% of which are affordable, whilst developing treasured homes in green and healthy neighbourhoods.

We are proud of York’s status as one of the safest and best cities in the UK to live, protecting and engaging our 200,000 residents and 7 million visitors. However we are not complacent and are resolute in our ambition to do more which includes:

  • Being one of the first carbon neutral cities by 2030; protecting our environment for future generations, rising to the challenge of the climate emergency;
  • Building on our Gold Standard (York were the third council nationally to be awarded the Gold Standard) approach to further reduce rough sleepers (building on the reduction from 29 to 7 in the last three years) and realise the benefits from the new 57 unit homeless hostel;
  • Working in collaboration with partners to combat the threat of terrorism, anti-social behaviour, serious organised crime and tackle the tensions between visitor economy and residential communities;
  • Delivering innovative approaches to meet the housing demand including: affordable homes through shared ownership, self-build and community build options, the regeneration of existing social housing and influencing the private housing sector;
  • Investing in modern technology to enable self-serve and business intelligence to service improvement and impact; and
  • Engaging through mature partnerships and cross functional working - make every contact count to enhance the health and wellbeing of our residents and communities. 

This is what we are looking for…

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

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 talented teams and strong leadership with great ambition for the future of our Council and for the city itself.

In order to maximise impact with limited resources, we need a leader to:

  • galvanise our teams, encourage truly shared goals and help define a more collaborative team environment;
  • be outwardly focussed, constantly learning to challenge our thinking and ensure an agile and customer focussed approach;
  • strategically lead across the directorate, council and wider partnerships with clarity of focus and cohesion;
  • tackle challenges head on and gets things done, whilst robustly managing performance and providing assurance; and
  • expertly understand and navigate the housing and community safety landscape.

Working with stakeholders and residents alike...

This crucial role will support Councillors and Officers to successfully deliver our priorities, meet statutory requirements and play a fundamental role in driving change, define our future direction, influence key stakeholders and deliver service improvements that will raise City of York Council’s reputation, locally, nationally and internationally.

As a pivotal member of our Health, Housing and Adult Social Care leadership team, you will directly support me 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 directorate peers, other council officers, partners in the wider city and region; building strong external relationships 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, engagement and integrity 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 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.

A final word from me…

Having completed my first year as Director in York, I have been struck by the genuinely passionate nature of people and their united goal to achieve the best possible for York - it’s palpable. Professionally York is large enough to provide the rich mix of complexities facing local government. This what provides the professional challenge, but at the same time it is small enough to enable you to get things done. That’s the professional reward!

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.

Sharon Houlden - Corporate Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care.

▼ About Housing and Community Safety

This role is responsible for an annual £100m revenue budget, £200m five-year capital expenditure and approx. 300 staff.

In summary:

  • Housing Delivery - development of new housing for the city including older peoples accommodation. With a pipeline of development worth in excess of £150m.
  • Housing services - allocation of council housing, management of tenants, hostels, travellers’ sites. Also licensing of private landlords, houses or multiple occupancy, aids and adaptations.
  • Building services - repair and maintenance of housing stock and capital modernisation programme.
  • Community safety - strategic direction for community safety and local delivery of community safety outcomes representatives from key voluntary and statutory agencies including City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Probation, Public Health, Office of the Police and Fire Commissioner and York CVS.
  • Head of Older Persons Accommodation - Identification of need and delivery of appropriate accommodation.
  • Housing and Building Services ICT project - a £2 million project to consolidate all old housing and building services systems into one integrated system.

The Housing and Community Safety Service Plan outlines our vision and action plan.

Housing Strategy

The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding (YNYER) Housing Strategy (2015 to 2021) lays out plans for dealing with York's key housing issues within a regional housing strategy.

The strategy's vision includes:

  • enabling more new homes to be built;
  • building housing of a quality, type and size which meets the needs of all communities; and
  • supporting economic growth.

Our strategy also includes delivering housing priorities set out in the government's Local Growth Deals.

Our strategy includes nine housing priorities:

  1. Work with partners to increase the supply of good quality new housing across all tenures and locations.
  2. Ensure our housing stock reflects the needs of urban, rural and coastal communities.
  3. Ensure our housing stock meets the diverse needs of our population at all stages of their lives.
  4. Ensure new homes are of good design and environmental quality regardless of tenure.
  5. Continue to make the best use of our existing stock and ensure that it is of a decent quality.
  6. Ensure all homes have a positive impact on health and wellbeing, and are affordable to run.
  7. Continue to reduce homelessness.
  8. Ensure housing is allocated fairly and on the basis of need.
  9. Provide appropriate housing and support for those with specific housing needs.

Housing Delivery Strategy

We've committed to develop 600 new homes across York in eight Council-owned locations.

Goals agreed in July 2018 by the Council’s Executive mean our Housing Delivery Programme will deliver:

  • high-quality homes designed in collaboration with the local community
  • accommodation suitable for a wide range of households, meeting a full range of affordable housing
  • shared open spaces, sociable neighbourhoods and community cohesion
  • homes with higher than required environmental attributes (resulting in lower running costs)
  • healthy places where people want to live

Our ambition is to create a wide-reaching legacy for the city which builds on York’s rich history as a housing pioneer, developing treasured homes in green and healthy neighbourhoods.

New council-built communities

Our Housing Delivery Programme will deliver mixed communities where:

  • 60% of the homes will be for sale on the housing market (providing funds towards development costs of affordable housing).
  • 40% of the homes will be affordable homes, including shared ownership and rented council housing.

We're also excited to offer individuals and community groups opportunities to self-build as part of the programme.

Housing development design manual

To ensure we meet our city’s housing needs, by building better places and beautiful homes we have developed a 'Design Manual' ; providing a strong and ambitious framework which supports our progressive and collaborative Housing Delivery Programme.

Its' innovative design principles will significantly raise the standards of homes in York, by raising residents' expectations and inspiring other developers to deliver better quality homes.

It covers:

  • Delivering the housing our residents need;
  • Building healthy homes and neighbourhoods;
  • Creating distinctive and beautiful places which bring communities together;
  • Reducing our impact on the environment and residents’ energy bills; and
  • Supporting sustainable transport choices and connectivity.

We believe the best developments come from fully understanding:

  • The locality; and
  • The needs and concerns of local residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

Community Safety

The Safer York Partnership is the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) for York. On the Safer York website you can find out what the partnership are doing to reduce crime in York.

Homelessness Strategy

Our Homelessness Strategy and action plan 'Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Together' sets out what needs to be done to prevent and address homelessness in York over the next five years, from 2018 to 2023.

Our strategy:

  • has been developed with the help of the York Homelessness Forum, a body made up of several statutory and voluntary agencies working to prevent and tackle homelessness in York;
  • builds upon the achievements of the 2013 to 2018 strategy;
  • focuses on prevention, early intervention and local integrated services that step in when things go wrong; and
  • implements the new Homeless Reduction Act 2017.

Our Homelessness Action Plan is under review and will be further developed in 2020.

Key documents

▼ Who are we?

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 2025 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 five 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;
  • 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 and Harrogate 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 people’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 are one of the safest cities in the country and offer some of best available education. The City of York is the destination of choice.

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 relocation support.

Call now - we encourage interested parties to call us to discuss the opportunity...

For an informal and confidential discussion about this opportunity, we encourage applicants to contact Sarah France-Gorton (01609 798106 or sarah.france-gorton@northyorks.gov.uk) or Penny Keatings (07811 411462 or penny.keatings@northyorks.gov.uk), our recruitment partners - The Resourcing Solution.

Apply now

To apply please send your CV including a personal statement in one Microsoft Word document to sarah.france-gorton@northyorks.gov.uk by midnight on Sunday 15 March 2020.

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 documents

Key dates

Closing date: Midnight on Sunday 15 March 2020
Assessment and interview date: Thursday 2 and Friday 3 April 2020

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, February 2020

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