Bristol City Council: Recruiting a Leader at the Heart of a Mayor’s Vision

Leadership Search

Bristol City Council: Recruiting a Leader at the Heart of a Mayor’s Vision

Bristol City Council engaged PeopleScout to search for a strategic leadership role to advance their housing plan.


Bristol City Council’s Housing Delivery Plan identified a need for 800 new affordable homes per year. The Housing Strategy and Enabling Manager provides the strategic leadership to develop, enable and deliver this ambitious annual program.

This role is all about affordable housing strategy across the public and private sectors. The Council engaged PeopleScout to find a professional who could build great relationships in both areas and work collaboratively with partners and local communities. A persuasive advocate of the need for more homes to meet real human needs—today and tomorrow.


We were looking for an individual with Finding an impressive professional working at the scope and scale of a large authority was the key challenge. This person had to hit the ground running in a new structure.

The hiring manager brief highlighted three essential search criteria:

  • Detailed knowledge of housing and planning legislation in local authority and housing association sectors; a qualified Chartered Town Planner (RTPI) or Chartered Surveyor (RICS) with membership in a relevant association.
  • Proven leadership track record in a local authority, housing association or housing organisation
  • Exceptional stakeholder management skills to advocate for the housing sector at a local, regional and national level

Candidates who met the first two criteria were numerous but most lacked the senior stakeholder experience. So we searched at a national level, positioning Bristol as a city where people could make a real impact on reducing inequality through housing strategy.

This message resonated, and we found good levels of gender diversity in the field. The final shortlist of four had a 50/50 male to female ratio.


We found healthy numbers of potential candidates in similar roles in other councils and housing associations. Despite the relocation obstacle, a shortlist of four candidates was created, and the role was filled with one outstanding leader.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Bristol City Council
  • ABOUT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL: Bristol City Council is the local authority of Bristol, England, consisting of 34 wards and 70 elected councillors.