Head of Economic Development
  • Employer: Wokingham Borough Council
  • Reference: 712514
  • Published: Wed 14/09/2022, 9:00 AM
  • Closing on: Mon 10/10/2022, 23:00 PM
  • Working Pattern: Full Time
  • Hours: 37 hours per week
  • Salary: £57,973 - £63,651
  • DBS Check: No
  • Location: Shute End/Home Working, Berkshire

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Head of Economic Development

Wokingham Borough Council has an ambitious agenda over the coming years with the Economic Development and Growth team playing a key central role in the Borough.  This post will provide strategic leadership on the Council’s Economic Development and Skills Strategies, working with other internal services and external partners to formulate creative solutions and long-term approaches to ensure that there is a strong local economy, and that the root causes of poverty and inequality through unemployment and lack of skills are addressed.  The approach needs to be intelligence led, with targeted interventions and support, with a constant eye to spotting and realising new funding streams. The role is critical to ensuring we use real networking engagement and business intelligence to support a whole Council-wide approach to growth, productivity and economic success, linking partner aspirations together.  The postholder will also play a lead role in the development of economic policy for towns centres and their highstreets and ensure that the economy is supported in all the Council`s policies including regeneration, planning and development.

Key duties and responsibilities:  

  • Lead on developing and implementing an effective Economic Development Strategy and underpinning sub-strategies, providing strategic direction to the Council to ensure local business community secures maximum access to opportunities to support their growth. 
  • Develop a robust Business Engagement and Partnership Plan identifying business synergies and engagement opportunities. Organise and run the Wokingham Borough Business Partnership to consult with businesses and understand their needs and barriers to growth.  
  • Collaborate and support all local businesses in relation to their needs, including on funding, business support, supply chain development, response to climate emergency and supporting mental health. As well as on issues such as employment, apprenticeships, skills and training and developing volunteering opportunities  
  • Build effective relationships with key strategic partners including Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, University of Reading, Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, other Berkshire Local Authorities, Government departments such as DWP and BEIS. Where appropriate seek to Influence partner organisation’s plans and strategies to the benefit of local Wokingham Businesses.  
  • Provide strategic linkage with other Council priorities, working across the different Council service areas to ensure that Economic Development is encompassed within appropriate corporate strategies and policy approaches. Engage with Members and other Council service areas including Children’s and Adult Social Care.  
  • Actively seek inward investment opportunities and promoting Wokingham Borough as an investment location of choice. Where appropriate act in partnership to achieve joint outcomes. Lead on developing a narrative of place for Wokingham borough to attract sills and investment. 
  • Prepare and present reports to Council, Executive and Overview and Scrutiny meetings, and provide responses on behalf of the Council to policy and consultation documents. 
  • Provide expert advice on interpreting Complex Economic Development legislation, putting policy into practice and ensuring that the Council is compliant with national requirements and good practice.  
  • Managing revenue budgets and capital funding to support the economic development and skills agenda and actively seek funding opportunities and efficiencies. 
  • Engage and support members particularly the Leader and Executive member for economic development on all economic development issues related issues.
  • Lead the development of a clear communication plans to ensure that residents, partners other council departments are fully informed and engaged in the outputs of the Economic Development Team. 
  • Participate in Council-wide project teams engaged in major development projects within the Borough and design and deliver associated enterprise development activity which creates jobs and business growth. Negotiation of Employment and skills Plans through the planning process.  
  • Initiate a Town Centre engagement plan and networking events programme to support the town centre businesses during the changes in shopping behaviour brought on by online shopping and increased patterns of working from home.  
  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of all activity the Economic Development. With a focus on delivering against Council’s priorities and against relevant KPIs as well as managing risk.  
  • Provide leadership and direction to staff within the Economic Development Team. 
  • Ensure that economic data and information collated and horizon scan to keep abreast of development in economic development. 
  • Undertake any other relevant duties that may be required and are commensurate with the nature and grade of the post.

Skills, attributes and experience 

You will be an experienced economic development professional, with a strong understanding of economic policy and applying this to local areas to stimulate growth. You will have a strong knowledge of and ability to interpret complex economic information, policy and guidance to inform the development of local strategies, policies and procedures, as well as managing complex economic development projects and programmes.  You will be able to demonstrate your ability to put economic development into place making, including promoting the role of economic development.  You will have significant experience working at a senior level within a local authority Economic Development or regeneration team, with demonstrable experience of successful partnership working with businesses, organisations and agencies that support economic development.  

Closing date for applications is Monday 10th October 11pm.  

For an informal, confidential discussion about this role, please contact the recruiting manager Rhian Hayes, Assistant Director Economic Development and Growth at rhian.hayes@wokingham.gov.uk 

Wokingham Borough Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and
vulnerable adults and expects all staff, other workers and volunteers to share this commitment.
Wokingham is an equal opportunities employer

How to Apply

Please apply online via the link provided.

Please note, we do not accept CVs submitted without a fully completed online application form.

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