Top jobs will go in council shake-up


Staff reporter (Chester First)

TEN senior managers at Cheshire West and Chester Council will lose their jobs as part of a “significant restructure” to save £1million.

Consultation with staff on the re-organisation, which will see a reduction in the heads of service from 24 to 14 and a re-jigging of the council’s present directorates, will begin with senior management this week.

The local authority’s staffing committee unanimously agreed to the consultation after reviewing a report from chief executive  Steve Robinson outlining proposals which will save about £1million each year.

In his report Mr Robinson said: “Local government faces unprecedented challenges of rising demand and reducing resources.”

CWaC faces a £49 million cut in its central grant from the government over the next three years and while plans have been put in place to cover the majority of that sum the authority faces a budget shortfall of £6m.

Council leader Cllr Mike Jones said: “While we have made considerable headway in restructuring tiers of top management since 2009 there is still room for efficiencies while continuing to protect front-line services.

“Savings will go towards the £ 1.5m shortfall we face next year and the £4.29m funding gap for 2016-17.

“If all goes according to plan the complete restructuring of this authority will have enabled an annual saving of £180m in costs to the taxpayer in its first eight years.”

Reorganisation of directorates will involve the creation of two new strategic posts to enhance the council’s tactical leadership and a third to lead on major capital projects.

The authority’s shared service approach on children’s services with Halton Borough Council will continue.

Committee chairman Cllr Alan McKie said: “Consultation on the proposed restructuring will begin by the end of this week and members of our staff will have the chance to air their views on the suggested new structures. Those views will be reported to this committee and taken into account when a decision is taken in July.”

Leader of the Opposition in CWaC, Labour Cllr Justin Madders, welcomed the news but called the Tory decision making process ‘shambolic’. He said: “We welcome the decision to reduce the number of senior managers given that was a proposal we put to the budget council over two months ago, which was rejected by the Tories.

The fact it has been resurfaced now indicates what a shambolic way the council is run.

“We have sought assurances there will not be generous redundancy packages given above the norm.

“We have also sought assurances the new structure will not result in pay rises through the back door for the remaining senior management and our hope is that the Tories are listening to our criticisms.”

The council hope the new directorate structure will be finalised by November and appointments to the new heads of service posts will be phased over the next year to reflect the outcome of 2014-15 ‘Make or Buy’ reviews.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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