Jul 102020

Independent Chair - Cheshire West Recycling Limited

Location: West Cheshire

Salary: £12,000 pa
Tenure: 2 years
Time Requirements: Usually one to two days per month but in excess of this will likely be required in the early months following appointment


This is an exciting opportunity to help shape a new local authority trading organisation wholly owned by Cheshire West & Chester Council delivering waste collection and recycling services to the borough’s 157,000 households.

The company has been operational since the end of March this year and is now looking for an Independent Chair who, along with other Board members, will provide strategic direction and oversee the company’s transition from the previous commercially contracted service to an innovative company with a co-operative ethos at Board Level.

Working collaboratively with key partners of council, staff and community the company will deliver an exceptional waste collection and recycling service while empowering our local communities in supporting the wider climate change agenda.

We are looking for an experienced strategic thinker with demonstrable experience in the waste industry and a high level of commercial acumen.

We need an individual who is politically astute, has an awareness of the challenges and opportunities within the public and private sectors and who will help us deliver our vision for the future.

Cheshire West Recycling Limited is a wholly owned company of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Set up in March 2020, the company provides the household waste and recycling collection on behalf of the council for households across the Borough. The company is limited by guarantee with a co-operative ethos working in partnership with the council, residents and workforce.

The Board structure is an Independent Chair, two non-executive Directors one of which is a Resident Representative Director, two Employee Representative Directors and an Executive Managing Director. The Board also has two observers who attend Board meetings in a non-executive capacity and these are a Local Authority Cabinet Member and a Shareholder/Officer representative.

Board Members are responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the company, committing to the established vision and values to ensure its continuing financial viability.

As Cheshire West Recycling Limited is a wholly owned council company the Independent Chair will be expected to carry out proactive engagement with the local authority as the Shareholder. The Chair needs to have an understanding of the political environment in which the company operates.

Co-operative & Social Value Ethos

Below are some of the proposals for embedding a co-operative ethos and ways of working within the company with the three key partners of community, staff and council.

Community Staff Council
Give residents opportunity to influence by providing views on direction of organisation and ways the service could be improved Reduce reliance on temporary and agency labour, focusing on a stable, supported and local workforce Fulfilling a ‘community stewardship role’, acting as the eyes and ears for the council.
Community waste forums, and/or an annual meeting with resident committees Employee directors on the Board Collaborative working with partners and other council companies (e.g. Vivo Offering vulnerable people work experience)
Bespoke locality based initiatives that tackle issues that matter to people in their own community Actively recruit from vulnerable or disadvantaged groups that the council supports (e.g. Workzone, care leavers etc.) Business plan aligned to council priorities – including digital and technology and climate emergency
Engage voluntary sectors, charity organisations, schools and universities Commitment to apprenticeships and training and development opportunities Contribute towards climate change and carbon reduction
Commitment to local employment of workforce and local supply chain networks Partnership working (e.g. with Brio – health & wellbeing for staff and their families) Delivery of service specification and truly accountable for its performance
Empower communities with information and support to reuse and recycle more and to waste less Bespoke employee incentive scheme linked to company values, principles and performance  Robust performance management measures, encouraging innovation and efficiency
Employee ‘have your say’ programme, acted upon by the Board

Role and Responsibilities of the Chair


  • Chair the CWR Board in a Non-Executive capacity
  • Bring an external, independent perspective and advise the Board accordingly
  • Proactive engagement with the local authority as Shareholder.
  • Assist in setting and revising strategy and objectives
  • Challenge executive directors on their decision making
  • Scrutinise the performance of management against the objectives and values of the company
  • Advise on risk management and internal control frameworks
  • Support the ongoing development of co-operative principles


  • Involvement in business development, (working closely with Board and senior team), including stakeholder engagement where appropriate
  • Provide access to useful contacts and networks to help develop the business in line with strategy

Person Specification

Previous Experience

  • Waste/environmental services industry expertise gained in a business development or strategic role within the sector
  • Strategy development, governance, business development and operational experience
  • Chairing business committees or Boards

Skills and Personal Qualities

  • Understanding of Cheshire West Recycling co-operative and environmental ethos
  • In depth knowledge of the waste industry
  • Understanding of corporate health and safety responsibilities
  • Understanding of systems and risk management
  • Good understanding of management accounts and related management information
  • Appreciation of co-operative and social value principles in practice
  • Appreciation of climate change and carbon reduction agenda
  • Strategic thinker and business development orientation with excellent commercial acumen
  • Gravitas to be respected internally and externally
  • Ability to engage constructively with senior management and to challenge on difficult issues in a non-confrontational way
  • Ability to build consensus
  • Successful motivator of senior management
  • Clear and enthusiastic communicator; verbal and written
  • Political awareness and an understanding of the political environment within which the company operates.

Role of the Board

With the Chair as Lead, Board Members share accountability to ensure:

  • the company develops vision, strategy and clear objectives to deliver its organisational purpose
  • that the necessary financial and human resources are in place for the organisation to meet its objectives
  • that there is an understanding at Board level of the external context (national policy; the economic and legislative context; regulation; technological developments ; public expectation)
  • Board members operate with a clear and shared understanding of where multiple accountabilities lie including:
    • To the community and end recipients of the service
    • To partners/commissioners
    • To Cheshire West & Chester Council and its Members as a wholly owned council company
    • To staff, including their health, safety and welfare
  • that the organisation is broadly accountable for operating with transparency and candour
  • that the organisation operates compliantly with all statutory requirements relating to waste processing, environmental protection and health & safety
  • that the organisation operates in line with its stated broad co-operative principles
  • that governing body committees that support accountability and systems of control are properly constituted

The framework below outlines in more detail the competencies required from Non-Executive Directors in fulfilling their role(s)

1. Understanding Context and Formulating Strategy 1.1 Contributes to and communicates a clear, coherent, well informed vision
Provides clarity and aspiration of vision for the organisation as a member of the Board1.2 Contributes effectively to the setting of a clear strategic direction for the Company
Demonstrates an ability to think flexibly into the future; contributes creatively and realistically to planning; can balance needs and constraints; debates effectively. Demonstrates a high level of understanding and insight; able to rise above operational detail and embrace change; and ensures that the strategy is focused on quality outcomes for service users1.3 Contributes to effective strategic decision-making
Contributes to focused debate; offers clear objective thinking; makes a disciplined contribution; seeks transparency and evidence based decisions and facilitates transparency for partners, stakeholders and the public
Performance Management
2.1 Supports the setting of challenging but achievable goals and standards of performance for the organisation
Focus on the goals of the organisation and the priorities agreed by the board2.2 Identifies opportunities to increase the organisation’s business advantage.
Adds to the collective skills of the Board and widening the range of Board perspectives to ensure success; contributes to the management of resources to ensure best value for money, financial sustainability and best judgement in financial and service investment2.3 Takes responsibility for their own performance and behaviour and that of their organisation
Learns from their own successes and mistakes and encourages a culture of learning in the organisation
Governance and Risk Management
3.1 Demonstrates an understanding of the laws and regulations applicable to the waste sector
Understands how the company complies with regulations;

3.2 Demonstrates understanding of and contributes to the organisation’s governance structures, processes and practices
Adheres to governance processes; is aware of and supports the ethical policies and practices of the organisation, supports the board to comply with ethical codes and ethical decision-making

3.3 Supports the structures and systems which enable the organisation to effectively identify, assess and manage risks and crises
Takes a pro-active stance on understanding and managing the risks associated with; the growth of the organisation, its customers and reputation. Raises concerns and follows appropriate risk processes to support Risk Management

3.4 Understanding Council requirements as company owner and commissioner of services. Working collaboratively to build positive and productive relationships within the Council and align Company strategy and actions to Council outcomes

People & Culture
4.1 Models the values of the organisation
Demonstrates behaviour which conforms to high standards of public conduct; Learns from their own successes and mistakes and encourages a culture of learning in the organisation

4.2 Contributes to the process and review of the Board members performance and learning plan
Enables a balance between continuity and renewal within the board membership; supports the identification of learning needs and learning solutions to address these needs

4.3 Contributes to developing a people culture aligned to the businesses vision
Enables a learning cultures, considers the organisations approach to building capability and skills

If you feel you have the necessary qualities to take up this position we would be delighted to hear from you.

To apply please send your CV and a covering email outlining how your skills and experience meet our requirements to:

[email protected]

To arrange an informal discussion about the role please contact Rob Edmondson, Managing Director
[email protected]

Closing Date: 5pm, Friday, 31st July 2020

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