Councillors Asked To Rubberstamp Restructuring That’s Already Underway

town hall 4Councillors have rubber-stamped the creation of five new senior officer roles. It follows the decision in February to reverse the changes made last year by interim Chief Executive Barry Keel.

New Council boss, Theo Leisjer, told members of the Policy and Resources Committee that this was the “natural conclusion of series of informal council meetings and discussions with councillors.”

He says the purpose is to become a top performing council that delivers high quality services to the community.

Staff were told of the new roles back in March, when former Director of Place Craig Dryden was appointed Senior Manager of Infrastructure and Assistant Chief Executive.

Recruitment began several weeks ago into the other four positions; Senior Managers of Democratic & Corporate, Finance & Resources, Service to Our Community and Strategic Development.

Theo confirmed the new recruits would be earning £58,000, following a question on pay scales from Cllr Adrian Davis.

But Council Chairman Amanda Martin said, “there seems to be a misapprehension in the public that this reorganisation will cost us more.”

She said it was reasonable to expect savings even if they’re not the first priority of the reorganisation.

Theo assured councillors that the reshaping exercise would “definitely deliver savings” to the council.

A layer of directors has been removed, he said, which immediately creates a reduction of up to £180,000.

However, calculations made by Radio Scilly and based on the Council’s own published data show that the overall salary bill for the replacement Senior Leadership Team will be around £50,000 more than the old structure, under the former Chief Executive Philip Hygate.

We sent our data to all 21 councillors on Monday asking whether they were aware of this, and why the budget implications hadn’t been included in the report, but none of them responded to our questions.

Theo said the new recruits won’t just be ‘directing’ but will also be capable of delivering on the ground, a move away from where we are now.

But he added that the precise savings can’t be calculated yet, because the structure further down from the senior leadership team hasn’t been agreed.

Amanda said an “awful lot of time and thought has gone into this.”

She said she didn’t know whether it would work but the Council needed to be brought into the 21st Century.

And she said it’s ironic that when the public are asking for strong leadership, “we get slated for trying that.”

Cllr David Pearson sounded a note of caution. He said this was “a big step in the life of the Council” and he was concerned that the posts needed to be filled “appropriately and with the right skills.”

David said money would be wasted if the Council had to employ people to supervise the new managers, to ensure they perform their legal duties. And he said councillors would need to keep a close watch on this.

The changes were approved unanimously.

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