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New £57k management roles at Norfolk council criticised as ‘top heavy’

PUBLISHED: 23:07 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 23:07 23 September 2020

Steve Blatch, chief executive of North Norfolk District Council, which has agreed a new manangement structure. Photo: Archant

Steve Blatch, chief executive of North Norfolk District Council, which has agreed a new manangement structure. Photo: Archant

Archant

A Norfolk council has agreed to bring in a new management structure which will cost it an additional £57,000 a year.

Sarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat leader of North Norfolk District Council. Picture: SUPPLIEDSarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat leader of North Norfolk District Council. Picture: SUPPLIED

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has voted to create a new leadership model for the authority.

At a meeting of the full council, councillors were asked to vote on plans to bring in a new structure comprised of a chief exectutive, three directors and six assistant directors to run the council.

The move followed Steve Blatch - former joint head of paid service - being appointed chief executive at the council, following a row over a leadership review which slammed it as “weak and divided”.

READ MORE: Council appoints former joint head of paid service as new chief executive

A report discussed during a full council meeting on Wednesday, September 23, called for a “new senior management structure which seeks to increase the strategic and service delivery capacity through more clearly defining roles and responsibilities of senior managers”.

The report also said the budget for senior management salaries would need to be increased by £57,000 from April 2021, which the council would incorporate into the 2021-22 budget setting process.

However, the Conservative group on the council opposed the plans - and called for the posts to be temporary until a government review of local councils and devolution was published.

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Conservative councillor Nigel Dixon said: “This is to ensure this council is not encumbered with unintended and avoidable costs of a foreseeable staff restructure in the next year or so.”

READ MORE: ‘Weak, divided’: Council leadership slammed by £1k-a-day consultant

And Christopher Cushing, Conservative group leader, added: “As of March, we’ve got 279 employees - does that really need a chief executive, three directors and six assistant directors.

“It seems very top heavy to me.”

But Liberal Democrat council leader Sarah Butikofer said she thought the review was not expected until the spring, and added: “I can understand Nigel Dixon’s concerns but I think we all have to realise the government has put off devolution again.”

Lib Dem councillor Karen Ward said she was concerned about the legality of existing staff contracts being temporary and said: “I’m not sure this would be possible?”

And Lucy Shires, Lib Dem, councillor, added: “Is not true that we will still be the most cost effective council in Norfolk.”

Mr Blatch confirmed the salaries would still be “the most modest in Norfolk”.

Councillors voted to accept the new structure and salary increase.

READ MORE: Council approve a leadership restructure after damning review


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