Members back council boss’s major shake-up plans

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WORTHING and Adur cabinet members gave their support to plans to radically restructure the councils’ senior leadership at a joint strategic committee meeting on Tuesday.

The plans will see ten top council officers replaced with four new directors in a move that could save the council £225,000 a year.

Worthing council leader Paul Yallop said: “It’s time again for us to make a brave step, which we have done before as councils. I feel this is the right direction to be moving in. It’s time for a new structure, that time is here.”

Speaking about chief executive Alex Bailey’s report, Cllr Yallop said: “There are some unknowsn in here which will become clear as we go along the way, but as I said, I’m supportive of the proposals.”

Five of the officers whose jobs are to be axed had applied for voluntary redundancy, and Cllr Yallop thanked them for the work they had done over their 135 years of combined service.

The plan will go before the full councils on January 13 and 14 to be approved.

Here is the full story featured in the Herald on January 2.

TEN senior council executives could lose their jobs under proposals put forward by their new boss.

Adur and Worthing councils’ chief executive Alex Bailey is planning a radical restructuring of the council’s leadership which could see ten top staff axed and replaced by four new directors, cutting £225,000 from the annual wage bill. The proposals are part of a report published on December 23, called ‘Catching the Wave’, in which Mr Bailey outlined his vision for the councils’ future.

Mr Bailey said: “I believe that the next two years will provide real opportunities for businesses and communities in Adur and Worthing and I am determined that we as councils will do all that we can to help deliver future prosperity.

“We have a proud record of delivering cost-effective public services to build upon as we enter a different economic climate whilst dealing with reduced public finances.”

Among the posts to be ‘deleted’ will be two strategic directors, seven executive heads of department and a corporate strategy manager.

Under the proposals, these will be replaced by directors for the economy, communities, customer services and digital and resources.

One strategic director, John Mitchell, will ‘slot into’ the role of director for communities, while four other executives have requested voluntary redundancy.

The report outlines potential redundancy costs of £318,000, pension costs of £211,000, and £40,000 recruitment and advertising costs.

Of these costs, £358,000 will be funded from the councils’ reserves.

Mr Bailey wrote: “All senior members of staff have continued to operate well despite uncertainties over their personal positions and this does them great credit.”

The council will employ headhunters to ensure it finds the best candidates.

“The councils deserve the best leadership they can get and, therefore, an open, competitive process will be followed to fill the roles identified,” wrote Mr Bailey.

Worthing leader Paul Yallop said: “Worthing Borough Council has already saved a great deal of taxpayers’ money by sharing staff costs with Adur District Council.

“Our partnership working has already saved over £10m to date.

“Our new joint chief executive has been very busy with plans to improve the senior management function whilst making further savings. We look forward to considering his recommendations in January.”

Meanwhile, Adur leader Neil Parkin said: “When we appointed Alex it was with a mandate for change.

“Adur and Worthing have been for some years now at the forefront of local government and we intend to stay there.”

The current leadership structure costs £985,000 a year, a figure which will fall to £758,000 under the new proposals.

However, these savings will not be immediate: pension and redundancy costs will eat up £530,000 over the first three years, leaving a net saving of just £150,000.

Only after three years will the full saving of £225,000 a year be made.

In his report, the chief executive wrote about the need for the councils to ‘operate in a completely new way’.

He wrote: “Perhaps the biggest risk to Adur and Worthing councils and the communities we serve is to do nothing at a time when the economy is moving into a different phase and our councils’ financial base is reducing.”

Mr Bailey spoke of the need to cut red tape to allow businesses to grow, rather than ‘smothering initiative with bureaucracy’, and for the councils to become ‘adaptable and entrepreneurial’.

He wrote: “The leaders of the councils and I believe that we have a window to catch an ‘economic wave’ – or we can just watch it roll by, lifting other communities and places around us but leaving us quietly becalmed in our old ways of operating.”

The proposals will be put to the councils’ joint strategic committee on January 7.

If agreed, they will need approval by Worthing Borough Council on January 13, and Adur District Council on January 14.