Report of the Leader of the Council.
Appendices 3 and 4 of this report are exempt under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) because they contain information relating to an individual or from which an individual could be identified.
The Leader presented his report on the proposed Corporate Restructure for South Kesteven District Council which supported the vision and priorities of the Council.
The process for the restructure had been led by the Chief Executive following the action contained in the 2020/21 budget to review the corporate management structure to identify savings of at least £300,000 per annum.
The consultation process had commenced following the 29 July 2020 Employment Committee meeting. A further meeting of the Committee on the proposed amended corporate structure took place on 23 September 2020 following feedback from staff and trade unions.
The full report to the Employment Committee and associated appendices were appended to the report including confidential, exempt appendices.
The Leader stated that the proposed structure aligned with the Corporate Plan to support the Council’s vision and priorities in a logical and structured way and he endorsed the recommendations made by the Employment Committee. The recommendations were seconded.
A proposition was made to adjourn or defer the item as it was felt that the issue before Members was so important and affected people’s livelihoods. It was felt that Members had not had enough time to consider the papers before them.
The amendment was seconded and the concerns regarding the timing of the item, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic were echoed by other Members’. Reference was made to the expected Government White Paper on Local Government Re-organisation, which could potentially, dissolve district councils. Comments were also made regarding re-structure that had taken place during the previous year and the toll restructures had on staff morale. Members asked about reassurances that the new structure would last longer than a few months.
A vote was taken on whether to defer the item which was lost.
Further discussion followed on:
· The savings around the restructure and the pay back period as outlined within the report.
· The length of the process and how elongating the process had a detrimental effect on staff morale.
· The need for changes to make a structure that was fit for purpose.
· The proposed structure allowed the Chief Executive to deliver the Corporate Plan agreed by Council.
16:27 As the meeting had reached the three-hour limit it was proposed, seconded and agreed to continue the meeting for a further hour.
A question was asked about the number of redundancies that were to take place and the financial settlements given. The Member was referred to the closed session of the Employment Committee meeting held on 23 September to which the Member had attended.
It was confirmed that during the consultation process redeployment, reduced hours and voluntary redundancy had been discussed with staff. Settlement agreements would be reported in the Statement of Accounts for 2020/21.
As some Members wished to comment on the exempt papers it was proposed, seconded and agreed to exclude the press and public in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) because of the likelihood that otherwise exempt information, as described in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Act (as amended) would be disclosed to the public.
16:42 Members of the press and public, and officers who were not necessary to the running of the meeting left the virtual meeting space.
Each Member then confirmed that no other person was present during consideration of the exempt item.
Discussion followed by Members on specific issues contained within the exempt appendices.
17:09 The meeting returned to open session and the press, public and officers were readmitted.
The recommendations from the Employment Committee had been proposed and seconded and on being put to the vote it was AGREED:
1. That the proposed corporate restructure and amended salary scales as contained in the Leader of the Council’s report and supporting appendices are approved.
2. That Richard Wyles, as the Interim Director of Finance, continues with the statutory responsibility as Section 151 Officer until the full implementation of the corporate restructure, whereby the responsibility would transfer with Richard Wyles when he returns to his substantive post of Assistant Director of Finance.
3. That Shahin Ismail, the Director of Law and Governance, continues with the statutory responsibility as the Council’s Monitoring Officer until full implementation of the corporate restructure, whereby the responsibility would transfer with Shahin Ismail to the Assistant Director of Democratic and Legal Services.
4. That the Council’s Pay Protection Policy is extended to apply to the Interim Director of Finance and the Director of Law and Governance when the restructure is applied, and they move to the roles of Assistant Directors with continuing statutory responsibilities. However, for these two years they do not receive the Statutory Officer responsibility pay award.
5. That the local priorities reserve is utilised to fund the exit costs associated with the implementation of the corporate restructure.