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ST HELENS COUNCIL: Looking for a new director of public health

ST HELENS COUNCIL: Looking for a new director of public health

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ST HELENS Council will begin looking for a new director of public health following the resignation of Sue Forster.

The council’s appointments committee approved a 10-page job description, person specification and job advert today, as it agreed to begin recruitment.

Councillors on the cross-party committee also paid tribute to Ms Forster this afternoon, who is set to retire.

The post, which is a joint appointment by St Helens Borough Council and the Secretary of State, will become vacant on May 24.

It is intended to offer £92,970 to £98,283 for the role, which is in line with the current post-holder’s salary.

The post will be funded through the public health grant, which comes directly from government.

“In St Helens we are proud; linking both industry and innovation to a strong local heritage sitting in an area of rolling countryside and areas of outstanding natural beauty,” the job advert says.

“Our new leadership team are busy recasting the way we deliver our public services as we continue to transform how we deliver our community and stakeholder promises.

“An exciting opportunity has now arisen for a Director of Public Health. There is no better time to join us and become a key part of our improvement and modernisation journey.”

The appointments committee is expected to meet again, virtually, on March 4, to carry out final interviews for the post.

The offer of employment made will be determined by the committee in consultation with Public Health England’s regional director or nominated person, senior representative from NHS and professional assessor.

At today’s meeting, Labour Kate Groucutt thanked Ms Forster for her efforts over the past year.

Cllr Groucutt said: “It’s clearly been an unbelievable year for anyone in public health and I think she (Sue Forster) has shown, I am sure you will all agree, huge leadership, reassurance at a time we’ve all needed it.

“And really strong direction as we tackle the biggest public health crisis anyone has ever seen. I remember at the start of it all she said, this is what we’ve trained to do.

“She will be hugely missed, and I just want to put that on record to say our thanks to her.”

Cllr Teresa Sims, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, added: “When she said that’s what we do, nobody could have foreseen what was gonna face them.

“And it’s the calibre of the person to actually just deal with it and get on with it.”

Cllr Sims’ comments were echoed by Conservative group leader, Allan Jones.

He said: “She’s got on with it as if it was an everyday occurrence, and it isn’t, obviously.

“She’s really done a wonderful job. It’s not been easy, and it won’t be easy for whoever comes into post. But Sue, we’re gonna miss her, we really are.”

Words: Kenny Lomas, Local Democracy Reporter

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