Heads roll at Flintshire Council

Reporter:

Romilly Scragg

A BIG council shake-up has taken place – with senior management posts cut by almost a half.

Another 100 staff are also leaving the local authority.

Flintshire Council chief executive Colin Everett said the new “leaner” structure would make better use of people’s management talents but was “not without risk”.

In the changes which came into effect earlier this month, the old three-tier system of top management has been abolished.

The roles of all three directors and 14 heads of services have been scrapped and the new post of chief officer has been created.

Nine chief officers will now take responsibility for reorganised departments with two sharing responsibility for “organisational change”.

A handover period is now in operation and will continue for the next month or two.

Those already known to be leaving the authority have either taken early retirement, voluntary redundancy or have taken up positions elsewhere.

As many as 100 other council employees are leaving the authority as a result of the wider reorganisation.

Mr Everett said all those leaving had applied for either early retirement or voluntary redundancy. About 50 per cent of those who applied to leave had had their request granted.

All but two of the new chief officer positions have been filled and interviews are now taking place for the roles of chief officer for governance and a second chief officer for organisational change.

Appointments are expected in the coming weeks.

Mr Everett said as well as a need to cut management costs, it was six years since the last reorganisation and changes were due.

“We’re a well-run council but the management-style did need freshening up,” he said. “Six years is quite a period for an operating model to run without major change in any organisation.”

Mr Everett said the new model involved less hierarchy and was “a more flexible model in practice”.

“It’s quite a significant reduction,” he said, “but it’s not just about fewer people but about using people’s talents better.”

He described it as “unusual and inventive model” which was creating interest in other councils.

The structure is more “dynamic” with people “given more space and more responsibility”.

“We’re confident it’s going the way we want it to,” he said. “We wouldn’t have put up a model we didn’t believe in.”

But the organisational change is not without risk.

Mr Everett said there would be a “learning curve” for staff in new roles and it remained to be seen whether enough managers remained at other levels. “But if we feel something doesn’t work, we can adjust it.”

See full story in the Leader

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