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Case Study | Permanent Recruitment - Ashford Borough Council

Posted on April 2024

View of Ashford from the air with Ashford Borough Council logo

In June 2023, Ashford Borough Council sought the expertise of Venn Group to lead the recruitment campaign for their Planning Lawyer position. Like other local authorities in the South East, they encountered challenges in attracting highly skilled and experienced legal professionals for their team. Notably, this specific role had remained vacant for nearly a year, despite multiple attempts to fill.

When entrusted by this historic borough, we were confident in our ability to deliver a successful outcome, as we knew that the competitive salary, ranging from £45,000 to £49,000 per annum, would be attractive when introduced to the right candidate talent pool.


Our Solution: 

  • Carried out a comprehensive scoping meeting with stakeholders at the council, engaging both Legal Services and the internal recruitment team to gain insight into the challenges associated with filling the role and the prerequisites for prospective candidates 

  • Initiated a full market appraisal, reaching both active and passive candidates in the recruitment landscape by employing diverse methods, including: 

    • Online targeted advertising across multiple platforms such as LinkedIn, our own website and Local Government Lawyer 

    • Leveraging our extensive network of local government professionals across London and the South East 

    • Initiating a strategic headhunting initiative, primarily utilising LinkedIn recruiter, to engage with candidates who may not have actively pursued new opportunities

  • Implemented a two-stage interview process within our shortlisting, including competency and technical interviews. This identified the strengths and weaknesses of potential applicants, to inform decision making throughout recruitment process and help to shape the development plan of the successful candidate 

  • Delivered a shortlist of three potential candidates, with varying levels of PQE, thus offering the council options of how best to proceed 

The Outcome: 

  • Two of the three shortlisted candidates were invited to a two-stage interview process, including technical and competency-based questioning conducted by senior leadership from Legal Services 

  • Following the interview, a clear favourite emerged and an offer was extended 

  • Our transparent communication with Ashford Borough Council, regarding candidates' expectations from the outset, allowed for collaborative efforts to create an offer that aligned with the preferred candidate's expectations and facilitated a prompt acceptance of that offer

  • We maintained regular communication throughout the onboarding and notice period, ensuring a seamless transition. The successful candidate officially assumed the role in November 2023.

The end-to-end recruitment process was completed in under five months, including a three-month notice period for the successful candidate to transition from their existing employer. 

The council expressed their gratitude for Venn Group’s ability to deliver multiple viable options for consideration and a successful appointment at the first attempt, outcomes that had eluded them in their previous recruitment endeavours. As a result, we are now positioned to assist the council with upcoming legal specialist opportunities in early 2024.


“It was an uphill struggle to fill this role for almost two years! Thank you so much to Venn Group for all of their help in this process, in very challenging market conditions.” 

Judy Janson, Recruitment Advisor, Ashford Borough Council 

Discuss your permanent local government recruitment requirements with:

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Tom Ripley

Senior Manager

07800 938 683