Friday, 21 January 2011


Changes to Thanet District Council’s staff structure, which will save over £1 million each year, have been agreed.

The proposals were discussed last night (Thursday 20 January) at a specially convened meeting of full council. They are designed to take the council forward, as it enters into sharing some of its services with its neighbouring authorities to provide a more cost effective way of working. These departments include customer services, revenues and benefits and the management of council housing.

The report also presented the full scale of cuts facing the council over the next two years, with reductions of £1.8 million needed in 2011/12 and £2 million in the following year. It comes after central government grants to councils were reduced in December. The planned new structure would generate most of the required savings for the next financial year.

Although the Chief Executive and senior managers would usually deal with staffing matters like this, the decision was put before Councillors because of the nature of the changes being proposed. The post of Chief Executive will be combined with the roles of the Chief Financial Officer/Section 151 Officer and Electoral Registration Officer.

As a result, the current Chief Executive, Richard Samuel, will be leaving the council in May 2011. The current Deputy Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal, has been appointed Chief Executive Designate. The council’s Monitoring Officer function will be assimilated into the role of the Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager. This function is recommended to stay with Harvey Patterson, the council’s current Head of Legal and Democratic Services. Both will now be assessed by an Appointments Panel to check they have the key competencies required for the new roles.

Council Leader, Cllr. Bob Bayford, said: “This is one of the key parts of our budget, as we head into the new financial year. I think we all know that every part of the public sector needs to make cuts over the next couple of years. It’s clear to us, that with the grant we’ll be receiving in the future, we can’t support our current staffing structure, especially as salaries make up the biggest element of the council’s expenditure. Therefore, we need to make changes. We’ve tried to make changes that impact as little as possible on front line services, so this restructure looks primarily at reducing overall management costs.”

He added: “We had already recognised some years ago that resources would become tighter and we have been working on plans to share services with other authorities in East Kent for a couple of years. As those start to come to fruition this year, we need to ensure that we have a structure in place that allows us to more dynamic and flexible, particularly as we move forward and more services enter the new arrangement.”

The plans are out to consultation with staff until early February and will be implemented after this date, in time for the start of the 2011/12 financial year.

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