Decision Maker: Cabinet
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To establish the Council’s new Common Operating Model as part of the People Strategy.
To consider further details for the implementation of the Council’s People Strategy.
The Leader of Council presented a report on the Strategic Director posts as part of the implementation of the People Strategy.
The Leader reminded the Cabinet that the implementation of a new Common Operating Model and management structure was central to the Council’s programme of transformation in order to ensure that the authority was fit for purpose to meet future challenges. The appointment of the two new Strategic Directors was an important initial step towards this objective. The rationale and proposed changes to the Council’s Management Board, as part of the implementation of a new Common Operating Model for the way Council services were delivered, were explained and in particular the steps necessary to recruit to the two new Strategic Director roles were outlined. It was also recommended that the level of Executive Assistant support which would be required by the new Management Board, should be reduced from five to one.
The Cabinet expressed some concerns about the two Strategic Director roles having the same job description, as this could be confusing. It was suggested that, whilst there should be some overlap, specific responsibilities should be identified for each Strategic Director to lead on with perhaps one focused on Customer Service functions and the other on the Back Office functions.
The Leader responded that the Job Descriptions were the same for both roles as the intention was not to create further silos but to give the Strategic Directors a cross cutting role. It made sense to not constrain the Strategic Director roles too much at this stage. The Assistant Director of Resources (Human Resources) added that having one Job Description for both roles offered flexibility across the Council and contributed to a flexible workforce which would work across the Council. The Chief Executive would identify and allocate specific projects for each Strategic Director
Some members of the Cabinet also voiced further concerns over the proposed reduction in the number of the Executive Assistant roles from five to one. However, the Assistant Director stated that, with advances in technology, there was a diminishing need for each Director to have a dedicated individual Executive Assistant. The one proposed post would support the Chief Executive and Strategic Directors on a shared basis, and the Leader of Council in the medium term prior to a wider review of Member support. It was also envisaged that such administrative support would be provided on a more corporate basis in the future by the Business Support Team.
When asked why the Strategic Director roles were being recruited to before appointing a new permanent Chief Executive, the Assistant Director responded that the appointment of an Acting Chief Executive was felt to be the best course of action at the current time as it would provide the Council with the necessary stability during a period of flux at the senior management level. It would also allow the soon-to-be-appointed Strategic Directors to bed into their new roles before the appointment of a new and permanent Chief Executive Officer.
The Leader of Council emphasised that there would not be a Deputy Chief Executive in the new structure, and reassured the Cabinet that the changes at Assistant Director level had simply been delayed, not abandoned, and would most likely be considered by the Cabinet at its next meeting in June 2018.
(1) That the following be recommended to the Council for approval:
(a) that the Council’s current Management Board of one Chief Executive and four Service Directors be replaced by a new arrangement comprising of one Chief Executive and two Strategic Directors;
(b) that the posts of Director of Resources (vacant), Director of Governance (vacant), Director of Neighbourhoods and Director of Communities be deleted from the Council’s establishment;
(c) that the requirement for voluntary severance on the terms contained within the report be agreed for the existing post holders of Director of Neighbourhoods and Director of Communities;
(d) that the leaving date for the Director of Communities be mutually agreed between the post holder and the Head of Paid Service on the basis of sufficient management capacity being retained until the appointment of any new Strategic Director;
(e) that the role of Acting Chief Executive be continued to be undertaken by the Director of Neighbourhoods, whose substantive post would be deleted, as per the decision previously made by the Council on 22 February 2018; and
(f) that, in order to better reflect the support needs of the revised Management Board structure, the number of Executive Assistant posts be reduced from five to one, following the normal consultation arrangements of the Council and within the existing Redundancy Policy;
(2) That the costs of these measures be met from within the existing budget provision previously agreed by the Council to implement the new Common Operating Model;
(3) That the Job Descriptions for the new Strategic Director roles be agreed, to be advertised at a level of remuneration of up to £95,000 per annum;
(4) That the indicative recruitment timetable be commenced immediately; and
(5) That a further report on the development of the new Common Operating Model be submitted to the Cabinet at the meeting scheduled for 14 June 2018, outlining the proposed structure of the management levels below Management Board.
Reasons for Decision:
The Council had embarked on an ambitious transformation agenda, putting customers at the heart of service delivery and increasing efficiency by adopting smarter more flexible working practices. The implementation of the People Strategy was central to the delivery of these objectives. It would not be possible to achieve the benefits sought through the new Corporate Plan nor the requirements of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy, if a new Common Operating Model for the management of the Council, was not implemented.
Other Options Considered and Rejected:
Whilst alternative structure proposals could be developed, this would inevitably lead to delay in delivering service improvements, fail to address current capacity issues at senior management level, and cause uncertainty amongst the Council’s workforce.
Report author: Derek Macnab
Publication date: 16/04/2018
Date of decision: 10/04/2018
Decided at meeting: 10/04/2018 - Cabinet
Effective from: 25/04/2018