Top jobs to go at council

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FOUR senior management posts are set to be slashed at Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) as part of the biggest structural shake up for years.

The shock move comes as the authority is told it has to save £7 million in three years.

The Whitby Gazette understands that the two strategic directors, Hilary Jones and David Archer will compete for the post of assistant chief executive as their current roles are to be done away with.

The six heads of service Brian Bennett (Tourism and Culture), Nick Edwards (Finance and Asset management), Pauline Elliott (Regeneration and Planning), Lisa Dixon (Legal and Support), Roger Kaye (HR and Performance) and Andy Skelton (Environmental Services) will also be removed from their posts.

They will then compete against each other for three new posts being created which will form a new senior management team.

A council spokesperson said: “Appointments to the senior heads positions will be filled by internal competition from a ring fencing of the current heads of service with eligibility for each post restricted to those with appropriate professional qualifications.”

Appointments will take place over the next few weeks and the process follows consultation with council Cabinet members, political group leaders and trade unions.

The culling of senior staff isn’t expected to end there as the new management team will review “other posts at a senior level” as one of its first jobs.

SBC said it couldn’t reveal at this stage how many posts will be affected but added the only way it can cut costs is to save on salaries.

The predicted amount the council will have to save in 2013/14 has risen from £2.5 million to £3.2 million because of cuts in government funding, a further council tax freeze grant and lower than expected levels of income as resident and visitor spending in the borough has dropped in the last year.

At the end of the next financial year, from 2014, SBC will have to save in excess of £7 million.

Jim Dillon, SBC Chief Executive said: “As a result of the significant savings we are having to make, the council needs to re-design the way it is managed to take advantage of new ways of working and harness benefits from adopting new technology and more cost efficient ways of delivering high quality services.

“The senior management re-structure is part of this process and while job losses are always regrettable, they are unfortunately unavoidable in the current climate.

“I appreciate that budget reviews and restructures inevitably bring uncertainty and concerns into the thoughts of staff at all levels and areas of the council. However this exercise is very necessary and will be carried out quickly to allow us to move forward with confidence.

“The new structure will reflect the way in which our organisation will operate in the future, allow us to deliver our services efficiently and continue to provide a prosperous future for our community.”

Full Council will be asked to ratify all changes in January 2013 as part of the budget setting process.