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Suffolk Libraries

Archived: Chief Executive Officer

Unique Library Leadership Opportunity

Suffolk Libraries is seeking to appoint an inspiring new Chief Executive who will – working with the Board and senior colleagues – set the tone and the strategy for the service’s future development.

We are looking for credibility, creativity, commercial acumen, energy and brilliant communication skills; the sensitivity to manage culture change; and, the ingenuity to focus stretched resources on the most promising opportunities.

Suffolk Libraries established itself as the first public sector mutual in the sector in 2012. Suffolk Libraries has shown how it is possible to sustain and improve a service, while saving 33% of the base cost. Our annual budget is currently c.£6m. Our membership structure means we are genuinely owned by the communities we serve, and our governance framework has enabled us to attract experienced professionals to work in voluntary roles alongside the specialists in our exceptionally able workforce (400+ people; 180 FTE).

Our original contract to deliver library services on behalf of Suffolk County Council is for 10 years, with an option to withdraw after 5. In December 2016 the Board unanimously committed to deliver the service for the second five year period, and we are looking for an outstanding individual to lead the service from February 2017, building on the learning to date, and with a vision to renew and sustain the service over the next demanding period. We anticipate there will be a competitive re-commissioning process towards the end of this period, and a key priority for the new Chief Executive will be to ensure Suffolk Libraries is well placed to win this competition.

Please visit the website to download the candidate pack.

For an informal, confidential conversation about the scope of the role, and the process for applying, please contact Paula Phelan, Head of HR (, or Tony Brown, Chair of Suffolk Libraries (