Senior Council Director Posts To Be Axed In Town Hall Shakeup

The Town Hall

The Town Hall


Councillors have agreed major changes to the senior management structure of the islands’ Council with four of the six current senior officer roles being abolished.

It’s the first stage of cost cutting measures discussed at a special meeting last night.

The Director of Community Services post, currently held by Penny Penn-Howard, will be axed along with that of the Chief Technical Officer, Neville Gardner’s position.

The Director of Finance and Resources position, held by Peter Lawrence-Roberts, is also going, as will Craig Dryden’s position of Chief Planning and Economic Development Officer.

The Chief Fire Officer role currently held by Steve Webster is part-time and won’t be included in these changes.

Those four affected roles will be merged into two new ones, a Director of People and a Director of Places.

Interim Chief Executive Barry Keel says the workload is achievable with two directors covering 260 staff. Devon County Council had two senior officers overseeing 22,000 people, he says.

The senior officers affected will be offered redundancy and will be able to apply for the new positions along with applicants from the mainland.

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Barry Keel
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The Council needs to shave around £600,000 off annual running costs. This restructuring will save around £150,000 but it’s not enough. So there’ll be a second round of reorganisation within lower pay grades, with service changes and job losses to make up the financial shortfall.

Mr Keel says he wants the people who are appointed to the two new director roles to identifying ways to save money and streamline operations while maintaining the best possible service.

He says he’s aiming to make the islands’ Council “fit for purpose” for the next 5 years.

There will also be a new, full-time, Scilly-based Chief Executive. A national search to find a suitable applicant will begin within weeks.

Some councillors have suggested a fixed term contract for the chief but Barry says that’s difficult to achieve within employment law and members should score the performance of the CEO and act accordingly if she or he doesn’t meet targets.

There’ll be a consultation period when roles that will be abolished are identified and a fair redundancy package for all staff is being worked on. Staff whose jobs are at risk will be advised.

Barry says he’d prefer all director-level staff to be based here in Scilly rather than commuting back to the mainland. He feels there’s more commitment from staff if they live on the patch.

Every aspect of the Council’s work and service delivery needs scrutiny to see whether it’s as efficient as it can be, says Mr Keel, adding that most local authorities on the mainland did this years ago, when they saw “the writing on the wall.”

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