Caerphilly County Borough Council

Professional assessment centre design and delivery.


Objectivity, fairness and robustness were never more important in the case of Caerphilly CBC who were given the green light to appoint a permanent Chief Executive in November 2019.

Psychonnaissance was approached by a Corporate Director at Caerphilly CBC to support with this critical and high-profile appointment. The Director had been a candidate at an assessment centre run by Psychonnaissance previously for another Council and had been impressed by his experience.

It was understandably important to Caerphilly CBC to have confidence in the organisation with whom they partnered, looking for reassurance that the assessment centre would rightly stand up to scrutiny. Psychonnaissance was appointed to advise on the design of the assessment centre for the longlisted candidates and to deliver it on their behalf.

Psychonnaissance provided:

  • Advice on designing assessments for senior Local Authority appointments
  • Experience and expertise in presenting findings to selection committees
  • A team of qualified, seasoned professionals to run the assessment centre

What We Did

We met to take a brief from the Corporate Director and Head of People Services. The competencies deemed key in the successful candidate were discussed, with an emphasis on assessing the skills and attributes needed to take Caerphilly on its transformation agenda.

A range of assessment centre exercises were proposed that would give candidates a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate the requisite behaviours. Consideration was given to how the assessment centre findings would fit in to the overall selection process and support the selection committee in making such an important appointment decision.

The assessment centre was run at a local venue with a team of four Psychonnaissance assessors plus an event manager, and an actor and a journalist who also regularly work with Psychonnaissance to deliver assessment centres.

The exercises included:

  • a presentation to, and meeting with, stakeholders which was facilitated by an assessor
  • a role-play with the Leader of the Council (played by an actor) and observed by an assessor
  • a leadership interview and feedback on psychometric profiles completed in advance of the day
  • a recorded meeting with a journalist on a sensitive topic, observed by an assessor

Upon conclusion of the assessment centre, the assessors met for a wash-up to share their scores against the competencies and discuss their initial observations. Reports were subsequently written, detailing the emergent themes and key findings, and presented to Caerphilly CBC for consideration by the selection committee.


Using the reports from the assessment centre, the selection committee made their decision regarding a final shortlist of candidates for interview and ultimately successfully appointed a permanent Chief Executive.

Caerphilly CBC were extremely grateful to Psychonnaissance for their support, complimenting the team on the professionalism of the assessment centre day itself and the helpfulness of the findings in the process. Psychonnaissance is proud to have been able to support Caerphilly CBC in delivering a timely, seamless assessment centre process for a post at this level that was tailored to their specific needs.


Right from the very start, Mandy and the team at Psychonnaissance provided the Council with exceptional support and helped us successfully navigate the entire recruitment and selection process.

When recruiting a Chief Executive for a Council it is vitally important that the successful candidate fits the role profile as well as matching the aspirations and values of the organisation and the community it serves.

The bespoke assessment centre delivered by Psychonnaissance, coupled with the skills and experiences of the assessors, provided a comprehensive framework through which we could satisfy ourselves that we were appointing the very best candidate for the job!

Richard Edmunds
Corporate Director for Education and Corporate Services