[amended 10:50 8/6/2021]

Bedford Council’s interim chief executive has stepped down due to ill health after little over a month in the post.

Terry Collins was appointed to role in April but by 13 May Bedford Borough Council had begun the process of advertising for the job.

A Borough Council spokesperson confirmed: “Sadly due to illness Terry Collins has had to stand down as interim Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council.

We wish Terry a speedy recovery and thank him for his time at Bedford Borough Council.”

Bedford Borough Council has scheduled an extraordinary meeting of the full council at 2pm on Friday to decide on an acting chief executive in advance of a full time appointment.

The spokesperson added: “The upcoming full council meeting will appoint someone to the post, while the recruitment process for a permanent chief executive is ongoing which is expected to complete in July.

A spokesperson for Bedford Borough Council said the permanent recruitment process was always scheduled to start during Terry Collins’s tenure.

The elected members have been recommended to appoint Mark Stephens to the role from 14 June until a permanent appointment is made.

The full council of mayor Dave Hodgson and 40 councillors have to be involved in appointing the chief executive.

The council’s chief executive is the principal policy advisor to the council and is head of about 2,600 employees and is accountable for a budget of £370 million.

Previous chief executive Philip Simpkins had been in the top job for 12 years, capping off a long career in local government for the Bedfordshire born council head.

The council’s advertisement for Mr Collins’ replacement, which had a deadline for applicants of 1 June said:

Our next chief executive will join an organisation with not only a great track record, but also a vibrant culture of creative, collaborative and place-focused decision making.

With a highly-regarded elected mayor, and members who are totally committed to improving the lives and opportunities of all, the built-in advantages of our unitary structure mean we can innovate quickly and effectively.”

They are looking for candidates who can show a “deep understanding of financial management in a constrained environment, as well as an excellent ability to shape and lead organisational transformation.

We need to be ready to think, act and plan in a way that’s thoroughly new, and you’ll help us to shape a stronger future.”

It adds: “You’ll be a complete and experienced leader, and an Olympic-level relationship builder.

Exemplifying our culture and values in everything you do, you must bring a powerful personal vision of how equality, diversity and inclusion can be lived out by everyone, every day.

A post on the business networking site LinkedIn suggested that there have been at least 25 applicants for the job.