Interim Assistant Director Legal & Governance – City of York Council

York, North Yorkshire
Competitive Salary
07 Feb 2019
20 Feb 2019
Contract Type

We are looking for an exceptional individual to be appointed to the position of Assistant Director –for Legal and Governance at City of York Council. This post will be on an interim basis and requires the post holder to have significant experience as a senior legal professional, working within the public sector and in a political environment. The post holder will ensure City of York Council continues to deliver high quality services for residents and communities.

The post holder will be responsible for the legal and democratic functions of the Council, undertaking the duties of the statutory Monitoring Officer role and supporting the Returning Officer as Deputy Returning Officer in the effective management of the election process in May 2019. 

Furthermore, the post holder will provide effective management and oversight of the Council’s governance framework, ensuring high standards of governance throughout the organisation.  The post holder will also be expected to support Members and Officers in timely and effective decision making; in accordance with legislation and the Council’s Constitution. 

This role will also require the post holder to provide expert advice on the development of legal models of governance and whole system models in York.

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

•           Ensuring that the Council’s operations are lawful;

•           Ensuring that the 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 the Council’s elected Members;

•           The management of elections;

•           Providing high-quality legal advice and representation for the Council and working in partnership.

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

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

Electoral Services


In addition, with a view that local elections are taking place in 2019, the post holder will also be required for specific management and facilitation of the election process. 

We are looking for a solicitor with a proven track record and experience in:

  • Delivering successful, highly professional legal and democratic services;
  • Working at a senior level in a political environment
  • Effective performance management;
  • Working across multi-disciplinary, complex public services, with difference models of service delivery;
  • Working with a wide range of organisational stakeholders; 
  • Delivering a leading legal practice;
  • Delivering and ensuring effective risk management, combined with forward thinking.
  • Managing  electoral processes and supporting a Returning Officer in Local Government / Political Elections;
  • Inspiring and engaging staff, members and stakeholders with confidence.

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. You will have a clear vision of success, a passion for significant challenges and a track record of delivering highly respected, robust legal and democratic services. Specifically; you will have significant local government experience and a track record of delivering successful electoral processes.

This position will be temporary for a minimum period of 6 months, with potential longer term opportunities, and subject to performance, we will consider a variety of contractual arrangements such as fixed term, secondment and contracts and would not consider part-time, as there is a significant workload to achieve. The successful candidates should be available to start by April 2019 or earlier.

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

Whilst we are a high performing authority, like all Local Authorities, we are experiencing the same challenges and complexities. 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, a rich and diverse range of expertise. Voted as the best place to live 2018 by the Sunday Times and celebrated as the ideal hybrid of heritage and high-tech, York is a distinct, exciting and beautiful city, rich in history but forward-looking and progressive. York is visited by 7 million people every year and is recognised on a regional, national and international stage.  We are acknowledged as an intellectual and environmental hub, with two world-class universities and some of the highest performing schools in the country. 

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.

York has a huge amount to offer and our ambition is for all residents and visitors to share the best of York. Renowned for our beautiful period buildings, historical city walls and iconic Minster; York is a vibrant city, with destination restaurants and innovative companies. As the UKs first Gigabit City, York also offers broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps city-wide.

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 in York. We are transparent in what we do, including clear engagement with communities about the work of the Council.

If appointed, you will joins us at a time of great ambition for the city. 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. 

To apply visit

Mary Weastell, Chief Executive City of York Council

Ian Floyd, Corporate Director, Customer and Corporate Services

Close Date 12 noon on the 20th Feb

Shortlist 21st/22nd Feb

Telephone interviews: 28th Feb or 1st March

Assessment event: 4th March