Cumbria County Council - Chief Executive Recruitment

Fixed Term Contract to 31 March 2023

£170,000 p.a. (up to £8,000 relocation allowance payable) plus local government terms and conditions

Chief Executive role profile (PDF 208KB)


This post is key to ensuring that the County Council receives the strategic leadership it needs to deliver quality services to residents and businesses as well as overseeing a number of high-profile transformational programmes and projects.   

The successful candidate will also have a key role to play in the County's recovery from COVID-19 and will also work closely with Government, on behalf of the County Council, on a range of matters.

It will take a very experienced local government leader to help us navigate a successful path over the coming months and as such we are seeking candidates with experience of working in a complex environment with multiple partners and agencies.

You will be innovative, collaborative, a leading force in change management and have a strong track record in developing and maintaining partnerships. 

Whether an aspiring or serving chief executive you will bring positive energy and direction, maintaining our supportive and engaging environment where communication, challenge, and improvement is encouraged and innovation is fostered, allowing us to maximise and retain the talent of our workforce and ensure that their wellbeing is a priority over the coming months. 

You will provide leadership and support to the established and strong senior management team and work alongside all our elected members.

Whatever the future holds Cumbria County Council remains ambitious and committed to transformation and creating lasting positive change for our residents and partners, ensuring that Cumbria continues to have a financially sustainable future.

We are recruiting on a fixed term basis, due to the Cumbria LGR programme. 

Our role is about creating the conditions for Cumbria's diverse people and places to thrive and delivering lasting transformation that improves lives, and in that we have a proven and proud track record of achievement.

We do this through strong and effective leadership, working closely with partners and communities in a strengths-based way to facilitate, enable and support positive change.

Building strong relationships with both strategic and local partners, alongside ongoing engagement with communities, are key priorities for our Members and our Leadership Team.

We provide leadership to Cumbria's Health and Wellbeing Board, in the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Children's Trust and Safer Cumbria, helping to drive improvement and make a difference to the safety, health and wellbeing of residents.  

At the local level, we are building new types of relationships with parish and town councils and with the vibrant local community and voluntary sector. This ongoing conversation with the community and voluntary sector about working together in different ways to support communities paying dividends.

Internally, we have an ambitious transformation programme with a range of high-profile projects, including our New Ways of Working programme.  

Watch the new ways of working video to find out more. 

We are also highly successful at attracting investment into the county and into the region as a whole. We are home to the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal which has brought more than £450million of fresh investment to the Borderlands area. The Deal is truly distinctive and is the first cross-border deal.

While our role in education has changed significantly, the council has strong relationships with schools and the wider education sector through well established partnerships and plays a key role in enabling educational improvement.

We have actively increased the contribution we make to improving skills in Cumbria more widely, including leading work across the health and care system on workforce matters, aligning our community learning and skills offer to local and business needs and providing leadership to the forum of training and further education providers.

Cumbria County Council has also worked hard to raise the profile and reputation of the county regionally, nationally and globally and in recent years we have had a strong track record in taking part in national pilots and initiatives, as well as being shortlisted for and winning a range of awards and having a variety of projects held up as best practice through case studies and national coverage.

Cumbria is also currently undergoing a major Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) programme. Government decided that from 1 April 2023 the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced by two new unitary authorities - the Government's suggested names for the new authorities are Cumberland, and Westmorland & Furness. Government announced its decision to create two new unitary councils in July 2021 and since then work has been ongoing to develop and implement a transition plan.

All seven local authorities, supported by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, are collaborating on the complex operation to create the two new authorities. This entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve. 

While this preparation work is ongoing Cumbria County Council has taken the decision to pursue a Judicial Review as it disagrees with the decision to create two councils, rather than one.  Find out more about LGR.

The county council is also working with partners on our recovery plans around COVID -19. The county has half a million residents and multiple businesses that have been badly affected by the pandemic and it will take many years for our communities and our economy to recover.

Cumbria County Council also acts as the Fire Authority for Cumbria. Its role is to ensure the people of Cumbria are protected by an efficient and effective fire and rescue service. Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service are led by a Strategic Leadership Team that combines industry knowledge, proven excellence in their fields and a passionate commitment to continually drive the service forward. Find out more about Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.

So, as you can see there is so much more to Cumbria than hills and lakes. 

It will take a very experienced local government leader to help us negotiate a successful path over the coming months and as such we are seeking candidates with experience of working in a complex environment with multiple partners and agencies and someone who can share Cumbria's ambitions and vision for the future.

Whatever the future holds Cumbria County Council remains ambitious and committed to transformation and creating lasting positive change for our residents and partners, and ensuring that Cumbria continues to have a financially sustainable future.

Council Plan

Workforce Development Plan (PDF 3MB)

Medium Term Financial Plan (PDF 2MB)

Customer Strategy (PDF 3MB)

Carbon Management Strategy 2020 to 2025 (PDF 3MB)

Cumbria Recovery Strategy (PDF 1MB)

Joint Public Health Strategy (PDF 233KB)

Structure Chart (PDF 178KB)

Key dates

Informal discussion with the Leader and/or Acting Chief Executive - Week commencing 24 January 2022

Closing date:  30 January 2022

Interview and assessment: Between 7 and 9 February 2022

This is a fantastic opportunity for the right person, so if you think this could be you, please contact our recruitment partners at Penna: 

Julie Towers on 07764 791736 

Nick Raper on 07715 690463.

Further information and apply online

As a place to live, Cumbria takes some beating. Its home to some of England's highest mountains, biggest lakes and most breathtaking scenery. The scenic views are matched by the openness of its communities and the friendliness of its people. 

From the stunning beauty of the Lake District to the lively and bustling market towns and the rich history, Cumbria offers something for everyone. This unique piece of England inspires a lasting affection among residents and visitors alike. But there is more to Cumbria than meets the eye. What brings people here and keeps them coming back is, quite simply, the unbeatable quality of life. 

Time and again the county comes top of the league in surveys looking at Britain's best places to live. With excellent schools, low crime, good house prices and big opportunities for those who choose to live and work here. 

If you are considering relocating here, there are a few things you should know

  • Cumbria's schools consistently achieve above national average results in a range of areas and the percentage of children who gain access to their first preference schools are amongst the best in the country
  • Cumbria has some of the lowest crime rates in England 
  • It has an amazing outdoor offer
  • Its GP practices have the country's highest levels of patient satisfaction.

Whether you are travelling by train, road or air, connectivity to and from Cumbria is excellent.

  • Train:  Cumbria has excellent mainline rail links, opening up access to Newcastle, Leeds, Glasgow and London. 
  • Road:  Cumbria is linked to the rest of the country by the M6, to Scotland via the M74/75 and to Newcastle upon Tyne by the A69. 
  • Air: Carlisle Lake District Airport has free parking, a quick check in and can get you to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin in about 1 hour. 

If you are travelling further afield, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle are located less than 90 minutes' drive from the county. 

Nowhere in Britain is more beautiful or more charming than Cumbria and, in the modern world, nowhere offers a better opportunity to get the work-life balance right. It is only a short journey from the cities but it is a million miles from the crowds, the traffic and the fumes. 

This is only a brief glimpse of what Cumbria is all about, of what it's like to live and work here. To get a real taste of this beautiful, interesting and exciting county, you'll really have to come and experience it for yourself. 

For more information, please visit:


Relocation Scheme

Cumbria County Council offers a Relocation Assistance Scheme to support candidates moving home to be within travelling distance of their new appointment with the organisation. 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss how this could work for you, if successfully appointed.