Archive for November 24th, 2010

Pork barrel politics

It’s good to know that in these times of austerity that Tower Hamlets council still feels able to create new well paid, political-orietented jobs.

It is currently advertising internally for a new “Head of Mayor’s Office” to help Lutfur Rahman analyse policy decisions and spread his message to his taxpayers. The salary is about £60,000, which is, I have to say, relatively low compared with some of the semi-sinecures funded by Tower Hamlets council. For example, the new person will have to deal with Takki Sulaiman, the £100,000 a year “head of communications”. [Note to watching lawyers: Takki’s job isn’t really a sinecure; he puts in a lot of hours blocking queries from members of the press.]

Here’s the job description for the new job:

Head of Mayor’s Office

£57,111 – £59,982


Accountable to: Mayor

Responsible to: Service Head, Democratic Services (with an additional, non-managerial reporting line to the Service Head, Strategy and Performance.)

Position interacts with: Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Members, Mayoral Advisors, Chief Executive, Strategy and Performance Service Head and team, Corporate Directors and senior officers, all Elected Members, Members of Parliament and Central Government, Greater London Authority, Tower Hamlets Partnership, PCT and Partner Organisations, local residents and community groups.


Responsible for: Executive Assistant to the Mayor; Mayor’s Personal Assistant; Executive Support Officer (Deputy Mayor); Mayor’s Political Adviser; Senior Administrative Officer.


Purpose of the job:

To support and develop the priorities of the Elected Mayor in all areas, and work in conjunction with the Chief Executive, Council Directorates and the Strategy and Performance Team to achieve the Mayor’s programme. In particular:

To advise and support the Mayor in the review and development of his priorities and initiatives so that these contribute to achieving the vision of the Mayor resulting in improved quality of life outcomes for local people.

To provide senior executive support to the Mayor and to work with CMT and the Strategy and Performance Service to ensure the integration of the Mayor’s priorities into policy, strategic planning and service delivery at all levels across the Council and the Tower Hamlets Partnership.

To liaise with the Head of Communications to promote the Mayor’s public agenda locally, regionally and nationally to stakeholders including the public, Members, Council officers, Partner organisations, Central and Regional Government.


To represent the Mayor’s Office with internal and external stakeholders.


To manage the staff and resources allocated to the Mayor’s Office



Main duties and responsibilities:

To ensure that the Mayor’s priorities are clearly articulated and in liaison with the Service Head, Strategy and Performance to be responsible for the integration of those priorities within the community planning process.

To contribute to the work of the Mayor’s Advisory Board to enable it to lead and shape Council policy direction and to ensure the effective incorporation of the Mayor’s policy and emerging initiatives into strategic planning and delivery of Council services

To work with the Strategy and Performance Service as necessary to provide advice, as requested, to the Mayor on the implications of new government policy and strategy and emerging best practice of relevance to the Mayor’s priorities.

In conjunction with the Service Head, Strategy and Performance, to commission research and information activities to support the Mayor’s priorities.

To facilitate effective communications with key stakeholders, in Central and Local Government, the community and the voluntary and business sectors, as required to deliver the main job purpose.

To manage the Mayor’s Office staff and resources within the post’s remit, ensuring that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor receive appropriate support and that staff have clear objectives and development plans linked to strategic and corporate priorities.

In liaison with the Democratic Services team, to co-ordinate responses to all Council questions submitted to the Mayor and where necessary allocate questions/responses to the relevant Cabinet Members.


To work actively with all Cabinet Members, Corporate Directors and the Chief Executive to ensure services are integrated at the point of delivery.

To ensure the establishment of a culture of quality and equality across the Council.

To participate in the development of the Community and Strategic Plans ensuring they reflect the Mayor’s priorities and are embedded both in the operational and strategic framework of the Council.

To support organisational change ensuring appropriate systems of performance and development, communications, quality measures, monitoring and review are in place.

To work as part of multi-disciplinary teams to enable the breaking down of directorate barriers and encourage the concept of both internal and external partnership working.

To work with key stakeholders, local residents and the third sector in improving service delivery and promoting creative and innovative ways of tackling local problems, ensuring services are user focused and developed to meet the needs of our ethnically diverse community.

To promote a positive image of Tower Hamlets and represent the Council at local and national level, attending and presenting at such conferences, seminars and working parties as may be required.

To provide professional advice to councillors and other officers on areas of service delivery within the service’s span of control.

To take active steps to achieve the Council’s objective of a ‘Workforce to Reflect the Community’.

To comply with legal requirements, the Council’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations and to advise the Chief Executive, elected Members and Committees as appropriate.

To comply with and support the delivery of the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy and lead its development and promotion across the Council, including opposing, and where possible eradicating, all forms of discrimination as an employer and service provider.

To lead on the development of both borough and Council-wide projects and initiatives, as and when required.

As directed, to undertake such additional duties and responsibilities that may arise from time to time.

You will be required to undertake such reasonable hours of work as are necessary to fully perform the duties of the post.  You can expect to work out of hours according to the business need.





Person Specification for the Post of Head of Mayor’s Office





Good understanding of the functions of local government.

Good understanding of the new governance  arrangements and the respect roles of executive and non-executive members and of officers.

Knowledge of the key issues facing local government including understanding of local government and national  policies.

Knowledge and awareness of the issues involved when working within a multi-racial community.

Knowledge of a local authority’s internal management arrangements including budgetary processes.

Good knowledge of the Mayoral system of governance and the issues facing an elected Mayor in Tower Hamlets.


Qualifications & Experience

A degree or professional qualification or equivalent experience.

Experience of working in a party-political/local government environment.

Experience of working at a high level within an organisation.

Managerial experience in a fast paced pressurised office environment.

Experience of working with the media.

Experience of local government.


I wonder who’ll get it.

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