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Independent review after Craven District Council management reshuffle
11:31am Thursday 24th January 2013 in News
An independent review of Craven District Council’s senior officers is underway following a redundancy request.
The request for voluntary redundancy by an unnamed officer was refused by councillors, but has prompted calls for a review of the council’s six strong senior management team.
The review will be of a recently ‘reshuffled’ senior management team which no longer includes the post of deputy chief executive.
The review is being carried out by The Local Government Association (LGA) and is expected to take several weeks.
Council leader, Councillor Chris Knowles-Fitton (Cons) said: “A confidential report containing a request for voluntary redundancy was taken to Policy Committee on December 4. The request was refused and members have requested a review of the council’s senior management structure.
“Members have resolved to commission The Local Government Association to undertake the independent external review of the senior management structure focusing on the current arrangements and potential future options.”
The leadership team is headed by chief executive, Paul Shevlin and includes Joanna Miller, corporate head of financial management; Samia Hussain, business support; Gill Cooper, legal and democratic services, and David Smurthwaite, planning and regeneration.
It also includes Paul Ellis, who until recently was deputy chief executive, and is now director of services.
The council has said that it has made changes to its leadership team as an interim measure following the retirement last year of its long standing head of democratic services and returning officer, Colin Iveson.
Changes to Mr Ellis’s title have been made to describe more accurately his role and responsibilities. Until the vacancy is filled, Mrs Cooper will take on legal and democratic services while Annette Moppett has been appointed the council’s new returning officer.
The changes to the leadership team will have no financial consequences to the council, but there may be financial consequences following the outcome of the LGA review.
But, Coun Phillip Barrett, leader of the Independent group on the council, said he was unhappy that councillors hadn’t agreed to the changes.
He said: “I find it an inappropriate time for any changes to the senior management structure by the chief executive. It's only a matter of weeks since Policy Committee members resolved to commission an independent, external review of the whole senior management structure.
“In these circumstances, if these changes were felt to be so urgent by the chief executive and Councillor Chris Knowles-Fitton, then a report should have been taken to Policy Committee seeking members views prior to this decision being taken.”
A spokesman for the LGA said yesterday confirmed it was conducting the review following a request by councillors.