At our full Council meeting on Wednesday Members resolved to change the senior officer structure to remove the traditional post of Chief Executive Officer and replace it instead with a “first amongst equals” structure with four Directors, one of whom is the Managing Director.
This arrangement will save over £200,000 on an annual basis, and deliver a better interface between the executive Members and their teams in the relevant Council departments.
The salary level of the most senior Council officer will fall by around 10%, the new Managing Director position to be at £129,000 rather than the £140,000 + performance related pay of the former Chief Executive.
The proof of the pudding will, of course, be in the eating.
Our structure is designed to deliver quicker results from policy formulation to outcomes that benefit residents; we have seen elsewhere that having a Chief Executive who disagrees with Member direction can delay progress.
In the worst case scenario that can (and as has happened elsewhere) resulted in the exit of the officer at great cost in pounds to taxpayers, and in the time and effort of leading councillors who should and could be doing better things with their time than arguing with civil servants.
This entire scenario is less likely with the new reporting lines, and the proposed changes from the DCLG to allow more flexibility in dealing with the senior officer positions is to be welcomed.
With our track record of reducing tax, we look forward to delivering even better services for less cost given the advantage of our new streamlined senior officer structure.