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 proposed Service delivery structure as part of the further implementation of the People Strategy.
The Leader reminded the Cabinet that, in April 2018, it had considered a report which proposed change to the Council’s Management Board, as part of the implementation of a new Common Operating Model which would alter the way Council Services were delivered. The recommendations of Cabinet were subsequently endorsed by the Council and the recruitment of the two new Strategic Director roles had commenced.
The Leader stated that the current establishment of 15 Assistant Directors, plus the posts of Head of Transformation and Head of Customer Services would be reduced. In the new structure, it was proposed that each of the eight new service groups should be led by a new Service Director, and to reflect the additional levels of delegated authority and enhanced spans of control it was recommended that the roles were remunerated in the range of £70,000 to £75,000. In the first instance, it was the intention that a ring-fenced internal recruitment process was undertaken with the current Assistant Directors and Heads of Service, who comprised the Council’s Leadership Team. Two requests for voluntary severance from the Assistant Director of Legal Services and the Assistant Director of Housing Operations were received and it was recommended that these requests be granted.
The Leader reported that the implementation of a new Common Operating Model and Management Structure was central to the Council’s Transformation Programme in order to ensure that the authority was fit for purpose to meet future challenges. The appointment process previously agreed by the Council of the two new Strategic Director roles was an important initial step towards this objective, and in order to maintain progress, agreement was sought for the next phase of the implementation of the People Strategy, namely the new service delivery structure.
It was pointed out that Finance and ICT were generally mutually exclusive skills, and there was an argument that the specialist skills required for ICT should form its own Service. The Acting Chief Executive acknowledged that the Council would need to retain sufficient Finance and ICT skills to deal with the usual peaks and troughs of the workload demands. However, historically, ICT had always sat within a wider Directorate at the Council. The ICT department would have the necessary resource to deliver the ICT Strategy.
The Cabinet debated whether the Building Control section should remain within the Regulatory & Commercial Services sector, or be moved to the Planning Services Directorate. Arguments were heard for and against the proposal, but the Cabinet eventually voted for the Section to remain within the Regulatory & Commercial Services sector.
It was highlighted that the Service Director for Strategy & Member Services could get confused with the two Strategic Director roles, and the Acting Chief Executive agreed to review this Service Directorate title. The Acting Chief Executive also explained that, as the core activity of the Public Relations team was internal and external communications, it was felt that it would be better served sitting within the Customer Services Directorate. It was also felt that perhaps the name of the Public Relations team could be revised to reflect its core activities.
The Leader stated that the Council had made substantial progress with the Transformation Programme, particularly since February 2018, and it would retain its importance in the new structure. The Acting Chief Executive added that one of the key skills in the shortlisting process for the Strategic Director roles was good change management and a proven track record in managing major projects.
Overall, the Cabinet felt that the proposals was an improvement on the previous structure.
(1) That the proposed new structure in accordance with the Common Operating Model for the delivery of the Council’s Services, comprising of the eight new groups as detailed in Appendix 3, be agreed.
(2) (a) That eight new Service Director posts be created at a salary range from £70,000 to £75,000 to lead each new service group;
(b) That the Job Description and Person Specification for the new Service Director roles, contained at Appendix 1 of the report, be agreed;
(c) That recruitment to the new Service Director posts be commenced on the basis of an internal ring-fence process, comprising the Council’s current Leadership Team;
(d) That voluntary severance on the terms contained within the report be agreed for the Assistant Director (Housing Operations) and Assistant Director (Legal Services) posts, the costs to be met from the existing District Development Fund budget agreed for the implementation of the People Strategy;
(e) That the leaving date for the two post holders be mutually agreed with the Acting Chief Executive, to ensure sufficient management capacity was maintained until the revised arrangements were in place;
(f) That, in accordance with the new structure, the vacant Assistant Director (Planning Policy and Economic Development) post be deleted from the establishment, once the current temporary cover arrangements were no longer required to support the development of the Local Plan through the Examination in Public process;
(g) That the proposed title for the Service Director of Strategy & Member Services be reviewed to avoid possible confusion with the Strategic Director posts; and
(h) That clarification be sought concerning the exact role of the Public Relations Team in delivering internal and external communications, with a potential change of name for the Team to better reflect their role; and
(3) That a further report be submitted to the Cabinet on proposals for the structure of each individual service group, further to the appointment of the Service Directors and a review of the most efficient delivery model within their new areas of responsibility.
Reasons for Decision:
The Cabinet had previously requested that further reports be submitted, setting out proposals for the future structure of the Council.
Other Options Considered and Rejected:
To not implement a new Common Operating Model for the management of the Council; however, 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.
To develop alternative structure proposals; however, 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: 21/06/2018
Date of decision: 14/06/2018
Decided at meeting: 14/06/2018 - Cabinet
Effective from: 29/06/2018