Council staff will take on extra work as posts are deleted

South Ribble Council leader Margaret Smith
South Ribble Council leader Margaret Smith

Details of a senior management restructure at South Ribble Council, which will see £160,000 of savings made, have now been revealed.

Council leader Margaret Smith said the move will put more work on existing staff, but announced it is the ‘right thing to do at this moment in time.’

Two directors will have retired by April, and the changes mean those positions will be deleted, and the services reconfigured around the three remaining directors.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, in which the committee voted through the amended budget proposals, Coun Smith said: “We’ve got a situation now where one more director is leaving, and we already have a vacancy, so we’ve taken this opportunity to re-look at the senior management structure.

“We think it is the right thing to do at this moment in time.

“Obviously it will put more work on existing directors, but I understand they are up for the challenge.”

The council’s director of corporate governance has announced she will retire at the end of March, and the changes suggest that the director of governance and business transformation be designated as the council’s monitoring officer with effect from the start of April.

The director of planning and housing retired in October, and an ‘unsuccessful recruitment and selection process’ followed.

Coun Cliff Hughes, cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, said now was an opportune time to re-evaluate that role, as the Local Development Framework (LDF) has largely been signed off.

The LDF is the council’s vision for how the borough can be developed over the next 15 years, and Coun Hughes said: “Over the last five years, the council has been planning for the future with the LDF.

“We’re getting close to the edge of that now, and the council can move into a period of delivery rather than planning.

“It gives us time and breathing space to seriously consider the structure at this top management level.”

Leaders have said that no redundancies are planned under the move, and the budget report adds that ‘the need for any compulsory redundances will be kept to a minimum and treated as a last resort.’

Coun Peter Mullineaux, the council’s deputy leader, said: “We can’t possibly know what will happen in the future, but we’re making the best of the situation we’re in.

“This gives people within the organisation the opportunity to further their careers and move forward.”

A similar arrangement was agreed three years ago, when the chief executive took on the role of the council’s chief financial officer, and the deputy chief financial officer was fulfilled by the head of shared financial services.

The senior management restructure report will be discussed at the next full council meeting on Wednesday, March 5, from 6pm.