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Active Cheshire

As the lead body for physical activity and sport in Cheshire, Active Cheshire are one of a number of ‘active partnerships’ around the United Kingdom, whose role is to encourage and facilitate sport and physical activity in the community, in education and at work.

First formed in 1989, Active Cheshire now take a whole system approach to work with a diverse range of organisations to have a positive impact in all walks of life; ensuring people can embed activity into all aspects of everyday life – at home, school, in the workplace and everywhere in between.

CEO Recruitment - 2021

In late 2020, following the resignation of the long-serving CEO, Sherrington Associates were retained to recruit a new Chief Executive for the charity. Leading an organisation with a complex agenda and shifting funding sources would require an experienced leader with knowledge of the patch, strong relationships with influential stakeholders in government, business and within Sport England, a strong commercial mind, able to develop innovative new funding mechanisms and a nurturing and caring leadership style to support the team following a period without a CEO.

Sherrington delivered a desk-based research campaign to identify potential CEO’s, as well as approaching key targets from within our extensive network in Cheshire and Warrington. The team also managed an online advertising campaign on behalf of Active Cheshire.

Following a thorough competency-based selection process managed and delivered by Sherrington’s team, a shortlist of six CEO’s was presented to the client and interviews were facilitate by Sherrington. In depth feedback was taken from client and candidates and final interviews were arranged for two candidates. After an extensive selection exercise, Mike Watson former CEO at Cheshire FA was appointed as the new CEO for Active Cheshire in early 2021.

Trustee Recruitment - 2023

Having successfully recruited Active Cheshire's CEO Mike Watson in early 2021, Sherrington Associates was engaged once again in early 2023 to recruit a number of new Trustees for the charity's board of directors.

Due to the imminent retirement of three long-serving Trustees, some of whom had served multiple terms on the Active Cheshire board, the charity required an experienced board-level recruitment partner to appoint three new members. Requiring a blend of governance, oversight, leadership, HR and healthcare experience, Sherrington invested significant time with the CEO and Chair of Active Cheshire to establish a clear and accurate brief, before developing an engaging Recruitment Pack to showcase the opportunity to potential candidates.

Through both a targeted headhunting campaign combined with reactive advertising through Sherrington's social channels, Sherrington engaged a large number of senior executives and non-executives across the Cheshire area. The search was supported with Sherrington's intelligent search software Talentis, providing deeper access to the passive market for senior leaders and board-level candidates.

Interviewing both active and passive candidates, some of whom came with impressive track records of third sector leadership, others who would be considering a Trustee role for the first time, Sherrington's team worked to develop a values profile based on the Nolan Principles of public life. This was used as a benchmark for all candidates who were asked to complete a Personal Values Assessment before their long-listing interview with Sherrington.

Shortlisted candidates were invited to an assessment morning at Active Cheshire's head office in Winsford, Cheshire. In April 2023, the charity appointed five new Trustees to the board and are now working with Sherrington to develop a succession plan for other roles as they arise in the board.

Commenting on the partnership, Active Cheshire's Chair Martin Pearson commented...

Following successful recruitment campaigns over 2022 and 2023 I wanted to add my, and my boards, appreciation of the work that Rob and the wider Sherrington's team have done in supporting Active Cheshire. In early 2022, I had started by calling a well respected recruiting company owner in Cheshire and asked for their advice on who would be best placed to recruit a new CEO, one who knew the region well and national charity sector.

I was given three names, I followed up on each and selected Sherrington's for their undoubted knowledge in their field but their very clear desire to fully understand our business / charity (past, present and future aspirations). Once we got to work, it was clear we had much work to do ourselves to fully understand what we really wanted in our next appointment and this early challenge was something, although difficult at the time, solicited the right questions and outcomes. We subsequently went through the full recruitment process and after 2 years in are very satisfied with our CEO appointment.

However, my biggest praise must come from our wish to recruit 5 new voluntary Board Trustees during 2023. We asked Sherrington's' to lead on this, in much the same way, as a paid senior role process would follow. After detailed discussions about the type, sector, personal experiences we were looking for, Rob and the team set out on the process, giving me a useful process guide including timeline to keep my board abreast of progress. We went through some quite detailed long list to short list meetings where clearly our original expectations were evident in the quality and breadth that was in front of us. We had an open session where prospective trustees could come and meet the operational team and meet some trustees to ensure there was a good fit for both parties. The quality of candidate we saw and the quality of their pre-brief about our charity was very pleasing. These were after all are voluntary positions with people who are in senior positions in their day jobs.

We have now recruited 5 new Trustees to our board, had our first team build and two board meetings in, the new team are working extremely well together, made up from a diverse background and critical / strategic thinkers - our charity can only go on from strength to strength. Sherrington's have played a vital role in strengthening our board so we are best able to maintain and enhance our board governance and support our very able CEO and operational team. I would not hesitate in working with them again.

Martin B. Pearson - Chair, Active Cheshire

Our team thoroughly enjoyed partnering with Active Cheshire to appoint these pivotal leadership roles I recent years and wish every success to Mike and the new Trustees. What's more, our Executive Search Consultant Joe Onions has now joined Active Cheshire's board as Trustee and Youth Ambassador - Sherrington are delighted to support him in this appointment through our volunteering scheme.

Rob McKay - Managing Director, Sherrington Associates

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