Mark Bousfield, director of development at Liverpool City Council, will leave his post in June giving the city less than three months to fill a key strategic role. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Council has less than three months to fill the post of director of development with the current director, Mark Bousfield, set to depart in June.
Mr Bousfield was appointed to the key strategic role on a six-month secondment from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in June 2021. This was later extended to become a 12-month appointment and was hailed as the beginning of a “new era” for the city.
He filled the gap left by former head of regeneration Nick Kavanagh whose contract was terminated in March 2021. Mr Kavanagh was twice arrested and released without charge in connection with Merseyside Police’s Operation Aloft corruption probe. He denies any wrongdoing.
March also saw the publication of the damning Max Caller report into the Governance of the development functions at the city council. This has led to the arrival of Government-appointment commissioners to overseeing the authority’s highways and property functions.
Director of development is a strategically important role in the authority. Whoever is in the role is tasked with focusing on major development projects in the city that are key to driving economic growth. Mr Bousfield took on the job as Liverpool published its 15-year masterplan for the city.
In January this year the chief executive of business lobby group, Downtown in Business, claimed progress on stalled property projects in Liverpool had become “painfully slow” since Government commissioners were parachuted in to help run the city.
Frank McKenna called for a “collaborative partnership” between council officers and the commissioners to get Liverpool’s economy moving. Her added: “Getting the council to agree to a meeting with developers is painfully slow.”
When he took on the director of development job in June last year, Mr Bousfield said: “We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us delivering some key projects; tackling the issues raised by the Best Value inspection and rebuilding the trust of the public, our partners, developers and investors.”
Confirming his departure, the city council said on Wednesday: “Mark Bousfield was appointed to Liverpool City Council on a 12-month contract, which comes to an end in June.
“Mark joined the council to help support the organisation on its improvement journey following the Best Value report. Mark’s leadership and creativity have helped deliver some firm foundations for his successor to inherit.”
Strategic director for city development Mark Bousfield will leave the authority when his contract expires in June.
Mr Bousfield began his career at Google shortly after it launched in the UK and then worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He joined the Combined Authority in April 2018, to run its public investment team.