Belfast Telegraph

Belfast council to appoint £83k-a-year resilience tsar

By Rebecca Black

Belfast City Council is set to appoint a new senior officer to "think beyond physical resilience".

In the first post of its kind in Northern Ireland, the council is seeking a "Commissioner for Resilience".

The job description says the successful applicant for the two year fixed term post, which has a salary of £82,954, will be the "chief architect of a robust, inclusive and action-orientated resilience strategy".

The new role comes after Belfast was chosen to become one of 100 cities in the world to join the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities programme.

It comes with a $160m (£119m) funding pot and challenges cities to "think beyond physical resilience to encompass the whole range of economic, social and environmental factors that are often at play in the urban context".

Belfast is one of just five cities across the UK and the only city in Ireland to be selected.

In a tone similar to the BBC drama W1A - which parodies management-speak - the council's job ad goes on to say the successful applicant will "co-ordinate across silos and sectors to ensure the successful implementation of the projects and programmes that emerge from the strategy development process".

The new job ad comes just a couple of months after the council advertised for a "big picture thinker" with a salary of more than £104,000. The closing date was September 25. No one has yet been appointed, a council spokesman confirmed yesterday.

HR Consultant Linzi Conway described the term resilience as one that is common in training workshops across the business sector.

"This job role to my mind would be really looking at how the city would recover from difficulty," she said.

"If difficulty was to happen, how would Belfast as a city recover, how would it spring back into shape and have that durability."

Ms Conway cited a potential cyber attack as the sort of issue that a Commissioner for Resilience would prepare for, including planning in advance to have channels put in place to get the city back up and running.

She emphasised that the successful candidate would need to be well connected and a great communicator to bring organisations together, that they would need to create plans and, more importantly, be able to implement them.

But Chloe Westley at the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "When times are tough and councils are finding necessary savings to continue providing basic services, this sky-high salary will certainly raise eyebrows. Residents will rightly ask whether the council needs to recruit a new member of senior staff at such a high cost."

The salary for the new Commissioner for Resilience will be paid through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

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