Update: Council Creates Five New Senior Officer Roles As Previous Reorganisation Reversed

craig dryden

New Assistant Chief Executive Craig Dryden

The Council has created five new senior management posts and promoted Craig Dryden to the role of Assistant Chief Executive.

His new role follows the decision by Council boss Theo Leisjer to scrap the reorganisation of the Authority implemented by the interim CEO Barry Keel last year.

Current Director of Adult and Children’s Services, Penny Penn-Howard, has decided not to take up a role in the new structure. She’s leaving on the 9th June.

The other four new posts will cover Finance and Resources, Democratic and Corporate including the role of Monitoring Officer, Strategic Development and Services to the Community.

They’ve been advertised internally.

As well as being the Council number two, Craig will be taking on a similar job to that of the former Chief Technical Officer, a post last held by Neville Gardner before the role was abolished. Craig will oversee waste management and infrastructure.

He’ll relinquish the planning duties he had as Chief Planning Officer. The Council is now advertising to fill that Planning Officer role.

Staff heard about the changes at a series of meetings held on Tuesday.

The reorganisation is expected to have a knock-on effect for staff and the final structure will be announced at the end of April. After that, there’ll be a 45-day consultation period for anyone affected to contribute.

Barry Keel’s reorganisation of the Council had been planned to reduce costs for the cash-strapped Authority.

But details of how this new structure will affect the spending plans, agreed earlier this year by councillors, haven’t been released.

The current Chief Executive, Mr Leisjer is earning a £100,000 salary package, £12,000 higher than former Council boss Philip Hygate and the new Assistant Chief Executive role commands a salary of around £80,000.


39 Responses to Update: Council Creates Five New Senior Officer Roles As Previous Reorganisation Reversed

  1. Peter March 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    McNulty: I am the “numbnut” to whom you refer whose argument on here “stank of stupidity”. My contributions on here might well be said to be provocative, but I’m careful never to make them personal. I’m confused by your posts and I’m not clear whether you are an islander or not. On 24 March at 3.00pm your repeated use of “we” suggests you are in Scilly. On the same date at 11.06pm you say “This is basic stuff here on the mainland, the real world”. On 25 March you refer to “damn mainlanders”, suggesting you are a Scillonian. On 24 March at 3.00pm you say “I want tourism to grow and grow” and then you refer to “damn mainlanders” on the next day. Charming. “Welcome to Scilly. I hope you have a lovely holiday here and that you come back again and again… you damn mainlander, you numbnut”. My earlier argument which you found so offensive can be re-stated thus: imagine on the mainland someone suggested that a small community of 2000 people should be given semi-unitary authority status with responsibility for education, social services, planning etc etc etc. The suggestion would be treated as a joke. Now I know Scilly has special circumstances which are an argument for the case for such status and power. But if you are going to have that exceptional power you had better exercise it carefully and skillfully and your actions must be beyond reproach. There is a news item on here today about Steve Sims’ belief that councillors should be given training to enable them to exercise their powers effectively. Exactly right. Look at the farce re the alleged cover-up regarding the release of toxins for several years from the incinerator adjacent to the school. Look at the incompetence over the alleged leaking of confidential personnel matters re the former headmaster. And many more cock-ups. If I were local government minister I’d be asking “what on earth is Scilly Council doing with public money?”.
    McNulty: I’m afraid I haven’t finished yet. You say “We get so very little from the government” and yet you also say “”damn mainlanders”. You can’t have it both ways. I’ve already described in previous posts how we have established that Scilly Council is massively funded by central government. You are not being consistent in asking for funding from the government of the mainland which you so obviously hold in contempt. Scilly cannot set itself up in isolation and then expect to be funded from the very body from which it isolates itself.

  2. Adam Morton. March 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Benjamin Button, keep taking the pills and wearing the glasses! I do not want a one to one verbal fobbing off which can later be denied, I want a black & white update on the election commitments given!

  3. Adam Morton .St.Martins. March 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Not specifically this items topic but,I am still waiting to hear the Councils definitive “background “ reasons for the new CEO’s comments re cost not being the issue at the transport meeting in London, after practically days in his new job? If the Council don’t like FRIST & Scilly Today’s version of events then perhaps they could publish their own, more in depth press release on their website to avoid public & private sector working at cross purposes in the future? As far as I am concerned it is the only difficult and by far the most important issue facing the islands! I worry that this is just being made a political football rather than viewed as peoples vehicle for self help in securing their future! I do not ask for anything I was not willing to do myself but please “get out of the road if you can’t lend a hand”!

    • Benjamin Button March 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Adam, why not phone Mr Leijser and speak to him directly?

      Such a negative vibe on this site, you don’t get the same vibe when out and about, it’s like the internet just amplifies the bad and ignores the good.

      I don’t think the council needs a communications department or even a website. The very notion of a communications team just seems to make people think that the council sits down and works out propaganda, there’s complete mistrust thanks to the behind-closed-doors nature of Hygate and Keel.

      People seem to think that Leijser is cut if the same cloth, he isn’t, I’ve met him and spoke to him, he’s happy to speak to anyone, everyone, anytime. It’s not his fault if some of you refer to snipe from darkened corners of the internet, real name or not.

  4. Chris Taylor (Mainlander) March 25, 2014 at 8:48 am

    A couple of points spring to mind.

    Firstly – has the post of Assistant Chief Executive been advertised prior to appointment?
    If not – this would be almost a ‘hanging’ offence in the world of Local Authorities.

    Secondly it is not clear that councillors have approved this restructuring plan. Clearly a plan of this sort would have cost implications. It seems to me that the councillors either were by-passed completely by the new Chief Executive or they are keeping the plans confidential in order that staff were told without prior warning.

    In either case it is not difficult to calculate the cost of the changes.

  5. Adam Morton,St.Martins. March 25, 2014 at 7:58 am

    McNulty, Perhaps you should concern yourself about your
    own “real mainland world” and leave us to worry about our future! Your comment defeats itself at every point!If we were getting the “skills & accountability” then there would be no problem!

    • McNulty March 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Perhaps you should tell central,government to keep their nose out of the islands as well, damn mainlanders.

  6. Mark Prebble March 25, 2014 at 7:11 am

    McNulty, you may be confusing my request for a public statement from the Council regarding the proposed restructuring with some of the more emotive comments posted on a news web site, my name is attached to posts for a reason.
    So while the council’s PR has not been perceived as one of its strengths in recent times I personally feel that the Council’s duty of care to the community it serves includes a clear and accountable provision of information. I believe this helps engender trust and confidence in the elected members and the descions they take on our behalf. As commented on earlier, until the savings and efficiencies are demonstrated, our small community doesn’t have the data to make an informed decision on the appointment of a new chief executive ( a fully renumerated appointment not an elected official as you suggest).

  7. Gordon Bilsborough March 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Will all you anonymous critics please have the guts to identify yourselves or shut up; or have you got something to hide? You want the Council to be transparent, so let’s have a level playing field, or am I being unreasonable?
    I await your replies with interest!!!

    • Anyone I want to be, ta March 25, 2014 at 10:12 am

      How do I know you are Gordon Bilsborough? I don’t think you quite ‘get’ the internet.
      The only ones supposed to be transparent are the Council, not the public, how dare you command the public to identify themselves.

      If you want to get public opinion then why don’t you hold a surgery this week and find out from real people what issues they have outside of the same old unsolvable transport problems. You can ask to see ”zer papers’ as well so you can formally identify the culprits Gordon.

      The best thing you can do is back your new chief executive. You’ve only just appointed the man, give him the backing he needs so he can do his job, the one you gave him not long ago. Or are we just going to appoint a new chief executive each year until you find someone willing to just be a yes man. Tell you what, if you want members to make all decisions then you can just appoint a dishwasher to pretend to be a CEO and then pay him/her £15k a year. Or. Let the clever foreign man use his brain and try to save this community. He’s been here five minutes and the roads are about to be repaired…

      If you want the government to help us then you’ve got to invest in the islands and make it seem like there’s a community worth saving, rather than cutting costs and running it into the ground to the point where there’s barely a functioning community and services are already being provided by Cornwall council. What do you think central government will do then? Reinvest in the islands to breathe life into it? Or invest in rehousing families to the mainland?

      Hmmm, commit to hundreds of millions of pounds over an indeterminate period, or invest in a one-off scheme that will save them hundreds of millions of pounds in the future?

      The only way to save scilly is to invest in it now. Cutting costs is the beginning of the end.

    • Saddened March 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Hello Gordon,
      Whilst I understand your frustration at people who post without using their real identities you must understand that there are individuals who will sink to the lowest imaginable levels in order to deliver ‘payback’ for those who they consider have spoken out of turn in our community and on this type of forum.
      It would be good if everybody was able to put their real name to posts, however in order to protect themselves and their families some people must remain anonymous.

      • Nobby Nobbs March 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        Here here,
        I’m afraid Gordon has spent his entire working life in local government and as such has a rather blinkered view of the world

  8. Mark Prebble March 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Lashing out in anger is understandable when the Council continues to display an ineptitude in managing its communications with the community. Will Teo and Amanda please step forward and talk to us about the changes, we deserve to hear it from them, better late than never.

    • McNulty March 24, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      With all due respect, if the council consulted and with the community on everything and had to speak to everyone who had an issue with it then nothing would get done.

      The Councillors elected a chief executive, and he is restructuring the organisation in a way that HE wants, in order to get the best results for the community, yes even the ones moaning on here. Not quite sure why the public need to be ‘talked to’ at this point Mark?

      What insight and organisational and strategical know-how are you bringing to the table, without accountability?

      You can’t expect to hire people with a purview for the safety of drinking water, for child safeguarding, for registration, elections, road safety, health and safety, and expect to get away with paying them an average wage. People can go to prison, and they are certainly ‘fair game’ for public comment, so it’s only fair they get a wage to reflect that. If you want to take a pop at public sector workers on a public forum, and then complain abot how much they’re paid, then you’re perfectly demonstrating why they’re paid a bit more than a postman.

      This is basic stuff here on the mainland, the real world.

  9. McNulty March 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Some of you seem to think that this was a press release by the Council, whereas it seems moe likely to be inside knowledge that was clumsily leaked, with the intention of sensationalising what is a very sensible process.

    Have any of you heard of St Kilda?

    This is what the council is trying to avoid, and it’s an uphill battle. If we keep cutting costs that’ll be it, and services will shrink and shrink to the point where droves of people will leave.

    And judging by the health issues and travel issues we currently have, it’s no inconceivable that this is an orchestrated attempt to drive people off the islands. Some numbnut on here compared us to a small mainland village of 2,000 people and his whole argument just stank of stupidity. Have you got a road or a dual,carriageway nearby? Any idea how much it costs the taxpayer to keep your village connected to the road network? More than enough. We get so very little from the government, and yet these islands played a part in the first Marconi telephone call! and the invention of latitude and longitude. I think we deserve a little more respect, and should have some more pride in where we come from.

    I’m not happy with the steamship company, I’m not happy with the coop, I’m not happy with BT, I’m not happy with the council, because I expect a good level of service and we deserve it, we sure as hell pay for it. I’m glad to see someone like Mr Leijser brought in, someone with vision and positivity, it’s what the islands need.

    I want the council to grow and grow, and I want the community to grow and grow, and I want tourism to grow and grow. “Cutting costs” isn’t a goddam badge of honour, it’s pointless, when quality of life and quality of services come second to cost then it’s all over. Good luck selling your £400,000 home when there’s no way of sustaining a family and a community on the islands. Second home owners won’t be interested anymore either, so you can forget that idea as well.

    There’s some real angry people on here, and yet no idea how to do make themselves happy so they just lash out at the council on this site.

  10. frangrottick March 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Thank you Visitor, this is true. Difficult decisions are being made, but key aim is to deliver good services as economically as possible. Many factors impact on salary levels.
    However, this will not mean new jobs at the top. These are not another layer of management, the structure will be different.
    Steve is right,we need to improve communication, if that is the general belief.
    My first year as a Councillor has been busy and I know I could do better in that regard,
    though many can and do get in touch.
    Keep the comments flowing, but try and get your facts right if you can.
    Let’s try and work together,

  11. Chris Peat March 24, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Let’s wait till we get to see the whole picture at the end of April. The new roles, (these things do have to be managed), will be for managers not directors, and I hope that the total costs at that tier will be lower than before. Barry had only just started his re-organisation, and I am sure there would have been a layer of managers under his two directors had he stayed longer. I hope that our infrastructure is managed better than our PR!

  12. visitor March 24, 2014 at 8:40 am

    What is with this Thatcherite obsession with cutting costs, surely the main aim (and reason for existing) for any local authority is to deliver really good services.
    After doing some research from here (http://www.projectanalyser.co.uk/CouncilTaxTool/CouncilTaxBands.aspx), you can see that you lot had the 19th lowest council tax charge in the country last year. Sounds like good value to me.
    Also, has anyone seen a comparison of the total wage bills between the old regime, Barry Keel’s suggested structure and this new one. Until those figures are released, its all hot air.

    • scillyfan March 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      ‘Visitor’ is right – most of the below comments are a form of knee-jerk cynicism based solely on past bad experiences. None of the commenters have a clue whether the total management bill now will be higher or lower than previously. It seems people have latched onto the figures given for the top two salaries as a reason for damning the new chief exec and the whole of the council. But if you want decent skills you need to pay for them, otherwise it will be straight back to square one.

  13. Nobby Nobbs March 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    One feels that one really should pass comment.
    But one just can’t be bothered anymore where the council are concerned, its like castigating a madman for being mad. I’m with Tom, close the place down and give the administration of the islands to Cornwall, they can’t do any worse and at least they would cut costs, all our council do is add another tier of administration that needs paying for.
    Oh dear I’ve just passed comment.

  14. Peter March 23, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Having established, from replies to my previous posts over several months, that most of this extravagant farce is funded by central government (as I had been mystified as to how a population of 2000 could afford all the salaries and running costs of Scilly Council) I have every right to comment as a UK taxpayer (though not an islander) on this issue. Such a bloated council is clearly not efficient use of public money. Scilly Council should be disbanded and the running of the islands should be taken over by Cornwall County Council (which might well be just as incompetent, but at least it’s value-for-money incompetence). Such a union may also avoid the us-and-them mentality so often evident on this website. As I have also said previously, and I don’t mean this as an insult to Scillonians (if it is seen as such then it’s also an insult to me – read on), I live in a village with about the same population as Scilly and I’m certain that within the small populace of the village we would be unable to find locals with the talent, experience and skills to run the local education service, aspects of the health service, social services, waste management, road maintenance, legal services, contracting etc etc etc. So how on earth can we expect such a small number of Scillonians to have such talents?

  15. mainland visitor. March 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    but IF Steve Sims is providing correct info

    Why the big IF? – unless you doubt the source, and just who is thIs Steve Sims?

    • DFL March 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      …A thing many have asked! Who is Adrian Davis and all the other so called “Councillors” who have swallowed this rubbish! They were voted for to express the voters views and best interests of Scilly not themselves. Tis like Groundhog day, again, again, again………

      • d??m?kr?si March 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        Did you vote? Have you spoken to the ones you voted for and taken up your dissatisfaction with their actions?

      • A Scillonian March 23, 2014 at 9:49 pm

        I think the question being asked by “mainland visitor.” regarding Steve Sims was rather more simple than you’re making out, DFL. And who are the many who have asked this question that you refer to? As far as I can tell, Steve Sims and Dr. Davis have been the two councillors who’ve been most proactive and willing to engage with the public – which is exactly what we asked for. Interesting to note they’re both newly elected (or newish – the election was a while ago now). Unfortunately they don’t control the decisions of the CEO, although I hope and expect dialogue to be exchanged between the three on this matter! I doubt either councillor would have done things in the way the new CEO just has, but it’s taking time for the elected members to wrestle back power. At least they’re giving it a go, which is more than can be said for past members and other current members!

        mainland visitor: Steve Sims is one of our elected councillors, this is why he’s able to give more information on subjects and aswer people’s quieries, as the council themselves seem totally incapable of getting a message across properly. Some might just leave that last sentence at “…totally incapable,”

  16. Jeff Eastick March 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Not surprised at the comments on this situation , but IF Steve Sims is providing correct info then surely the problem lies at the door of the Council for issuing an incomplete public announcement that , at face value , was bound to attract the sort of comments herewith.
    I would strongly suggest that Theo issues further info at the earliest possible moment before this starts to fester and cause even more bad feeling in the local community, because issuing half the picture , without full info , is a recipe for disaster.

  17. Regular irregular March 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Visitors ( or potential visitors ) read this and think ” What the hell is going on ?? “

  18. Mr Knees March 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Jesus! The man has only been in post for a couple of months and you insatiable people cannot wait to jump down the mans neck at any given opportunity! It has been noted before, but high profile posts in the council require a skilled person to take it on. Unfortunately, due to other councils in the UK offering ludicrous wages, these posts have a high salary associated with them so where’s the incentive for a potential candidate to apply for a similar job with the ios council if the pay is, say, £10k less than anywhere else? With the islands in dismay since all of the storms and lack of maintenance on the highways, sewerage, areas of interest etc… we cannot afford to wait and appoint a new technical officer, so why not choose someone already employed in the council and with a salary that reflects the importance of that position?

    • Barry Bumfrey March 24, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Never mind the salary, what about the ability of said person?
      It was often stated that the previous occupier of the post had been promoted way above their level of competence, hence the reason the islands infrastructure is in the state it is. If the council can’t find suitably qualified and experienced staff who want to come to the islands, I would say this is another reason why the administration of the islands needs to be returned to Cornwall. Look at it from central governments position (where we get most of our money from) how can anyone justify the 320+ number of people employed by the council and the cost of our ‘unitary’ authority for a population of just 2200 people. the place is just not economically viable.
      I’m afraid the council do nothing to make us have any faith in their competence, all they seem to want to do is rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic and pay exorbitant salary’s to an ever increasing number of people to rearrange the chairs

      • Hector March 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

        That’s a cop out, I’m not having it. The reason that infrastructure was ignored was because we had Councillors in place who didn’t do anything about it. Investin in the sewerage system isn’t just an off the cuff decision for an officer, it’s large scale operation and needed members to identify a course of action. They didn’t.

        People hold Cornwall Council up as a shining light, but what do you really know about Cornwall Council? Have you listened to Radio Cornwall’s lunchtime phone-in with Laurence Reed? Obviously not…

        Those asking for cornish rule are completely unaware of implications of doing so, but it’s so bloody vogue and ‘cool’ to mention it. That’ll show them council fat cats eh? Ummm, no actually, that’ll affect YOU a lot, lot more than you could conceive. You’ve got no idea just how lucky we are to have unitary status, and you’ve got no idea just how badly let down you’ve been by Councillors over the years.

        Being angry is fine, just make sure you have the facts so that at least you’re angry with the right people for once.

  19. TOM March 23, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Leisjer=absolute failure, along with this Council. I have been one that has supported and been vocal about the need to keep the Council and control of the Islands here, but am strongly swinging towards the council being dispanded, and run from Cornwall, with the input from our local voted councillors on local decisions.
    This is an absolute joke, and as a taxpayer, get very angry at the amount of our hard earned money being wasted on these people.

  20. John Allsop March 23, 2014 at 3:44 am

    The question of course is How much more is this going to cost the rate payers? Do the coucil think those who pay the property taxes have unlimited financial resources.

  21. Jonny Exile March 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    What sickens me most about the apparent reinstatement of a Hygateesque structure is the waste of the herculean effort made by the late Mike Hicks to rid us of the Hygate regime itself. An effort that must have consumed huge amounts of his time and can only have been hugely detrimental to his health.

    Post Hygate the next step that Council took looked hopeful in that they appointed Barry Keel who, whilst he didn’t cut far enough nor quickly enough, at least made a start on restructuring the Council. Then, for some totally inexplicable reason, the Councillors saw fit to appoint Leisjer who has almost immediately announced what appear to be plans to reverse all of Barry Keel’s reforms and essentially restore the Council to its previous bloated and out of control state.

    I’m sure the Councillors involved in Leisjer’s recruitment spent a lot of their time and our money on the process in conjunction with the expensive consultants that they engaged. Personally I didn’t need to read beyond Radio Scilly’s piece on Leisjer when he first joined the Council to realise that the appointment was highly likely to be a disaster for Scillonian taxpayers in particular and UK taxpayers in general.

    The piece explained that he held a number of local and regional development roles in the UK, including Director for Cornwall and Scilly at the former South West Regional Development Agency. So, essentially Leisjer came to the Islands having left a failed taxpayer funded organisation which was shut down by the Government as unfit for purpose with apparently only experience of other similar bodies (and a charity) on his ticket. No experience of cost cutting nor taxpayer advocacy nor anything else remotely relevant to our needs.

    Leisjer’s been given a chance and this is what he’s come up with. He needs to go, and soon, before any more damage is done.

    • Steve Sims March 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Mr Exile,

      Pretty strong words but at least you said apparent. it may be a good idea for you to nip in to Barad-dûr (aka the Town Hall) for a chat with Theo. If he has the time he’ll see you, and will no doubt further confirm or otherwise your fears.

      If you do then please ignore the corpses of previous complainers still hanging from the walls.

      What this is, though it doesn’t seem like it, is actually the stripping away of a management tier. It’s that sinister. Rather the opposite of your comment.

      But seriously, if you really do hold those opinions then the Town Hall really does have to up it’s communications and PR.

  22. Adrian Davis March 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Dear YAI,
    You have a point but I want to assure you that we are ‘grappling ‘ hard with many issues as new Councillors not the least of which are the financial questions.. The Authority is in a time of considerable change and reorganisation,and several senior officers (have and) are on the move. Posts are being advertised, statuary and otherwise , and not always filled—even when advertised at the going rate. Please try also to look on the positive side as well, e.g. our CEO, and relevant Members, have held well attended public meetings around the Isles with good feed back–when did that last happen? –(did you attend?!)
    As for HEART we are aware that we are overdue a meeting, and I can make several (lame?) excuses why one is overdue.. It is ”under consideration”!
    To address your ‘pay points’ I will endeavour to check the facts and present position in the next few days and I ask you to contact me directly, (and of course in confidence if you so wish, as can anyone else for that matter) so that I can respond to your questions re. ”shedloads–etc. with ” firm facts,and also just where you feel I have not followed my ‘manifesto’—I also wish to say that HEART has not gone out of the Council –there are still two active members there who miss very few meetings!
    My e-mail and ‘phone # is freely available to all —422350.
    Adrian Davis

  23. Islander March 22, 2014 at 8:27 am

    “It is good news that the number of senior council staff making more than £100,000 a year is finally falling, although that may only be because many authorities have finished paying eye-watering redundancy bills.

    “Sadly, too many local authorities are still increasing the number of highly paid staff on their payroll, some of whom are given hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation just to move from one public sector job to another. Residents won’t be impressed if their council pleads poverty when it is demanding more and more Council Tax, only then to spend it creating more town hall tycoons.”

    Interesting food for thought!!!!!

  24. Islander March 22, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Do I trust some one, newly appointed as CEO to our cash strapped Council. Five minutes in his salary is increased by £12,000 & has undermined all the hard work Barry Keel did to keep the Council from financial ruin. The ACC’s salary has more than doubled to an incredible £80,000. Clever business strategy, at what/whose cost?

  25. Yet another islander March 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    So, Bary reorganized and he got paid shedloads to save money. Now Theo, who is being paid loads more than Highgate, is reorganizing again, there’s going to be a new deputy chief executive ( we were told we didn’t need one) and he’s going to get more than the last one. There are more jobs being made at the top. Can one of you councillors tell me when you’re going to get a grip? You took your seats with all sorts of promises, seems to me that the HEART has gone out of the council following close behind the brain that went some time ago.

    • A Scillonian March 22, 2014 at 8:30 am

      I have to agree. EXPLANATION PLEASE. NOW. Total disgrace.