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New Purchasing Director for Your Housing Group

Your Housing Group logoYour Housing Group is a commercial business with a social heart. With a vision of "transforming your lives and your communities" it is one of the UK's largest social housing providers, with over 33,000 homes across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands. As well as a wide range of homes for social and affordable rent, the organisation also provides homes for sale and shared ownership.

A key element of the Group’s continuing development was establishing its own in-house procurement department and recruiting a strategic and highly commercial Group Director of Procurement. The successful candidate would have responsibility for creating and implementing the Group’s procurement strategy and working broadly across the organisation to firmly establish procurement as a new, yet essential business function.

Your Housing Group engaged Wickland Westcott to lead the search and selection process, to identify suitably experienced candidates for this demanding role. There were two principal challenges we faced - firstly, the requirement to identify candidates who were experienced and motivated enough to build a new function from scratch and secondly, the Group was keen to attract candidates from a wide variety of commercial, housing and not-for-profit organisations who would bring procurement best practice and quickly build an ambitious team of professionals.

Executive search was chosen as the principal route to market, with Wickland Westcott’s researchers making a direct approach to the most appropriate organisations and individuals having the essential skills required. Of critical importance was the need to identify candidates who would relate to the social purpose of the Group, whilst also supporting its considerable growth ambitions, through their highly commercial outlook. Many of the candidates approached outside of social housing had not previously considered the sector; this required a significant investment in time to persuade them of the many benefits of joining a rapidly changing sector with considerable career development opportunities.

The interview process prepared by Wickland Westcott was designed to understand the candidates’ professional skills and capabilities and just as importantly their career ambitions, cultural fit and ability to embed the new procurement function in a relatively short space of time. Shortlisted candidates were also measured against the person specification through rigorous interviews and the Test Direct Credo personality questionnaire.

The successful candidate was appointed from outside the housing sector and brings to the organisation extensive experience of major capital expenditure projects. His previous work experience includes leading major procurement initiatives within organisations such as Network Rail, Manchester Airport Group and Peel Ports Group.

Jeremy Earnshaw, Executive Director of Finance & ICT commented: “We chose to work with Wickland Westcott as they had a track record of attracting commercial sector candidates to work with organisations such as ours. We were pleased with the outcome as the final shortlist of candidates provided us with a strong choice of candidates who brought knowledge and experience from a wide variety of backgrounds.”