At the December 2020 Cabinet meeting the Leader announced that he wished to initiate an independent review of the Council Management Structure and the Chief Executive was instructed to prepare a report. Accordingly this report sets out the procurement considerations for Cabinet and Council to consider.
At the December 2020 Cabinet meeting the Leader announced that he wished to initiate an independent review of the Council Management Structure and the Chief Executive was instructed to prepare a report. Accordingly the report set out the procurement considerations for Cabinet and Council to consider.
Discussions included the following:
· Why now? This was not the right time, the past 12 months staff had seen their workloads significantly increased due to the pandemic
· The Country as a whole had changed and adapted its working methods, the future was still uncertain so the review should be delayed
· How can we change structures and processes when we don’t know what the new working requirements would be?
· Staff were extraordinarily stressed so to progress with a management review at his time was simply wrong
· The council needed support, stability and unity at this time not a review
· Reviews related to changes an organisation was trying to achieve, with clear objectives, aspirations and ambitions. Any management restructure needed consultation and clear priorities to what was wanted from its management team
· Once the vision and plan of the council was agreed then this was the time to look at its skills-base
· The council plan must be produced and considered first, followed by staff second and then take into account the staff you have to deliver the plan
· What was the evolution of the management review? Was the Chair’s handling of the review affecting staff morale?
· Will we use data collected from other councils’ reviews and what is the time frame of the review?
· Agree that presently staff were working in unnatural conditions with further pressures added to them outside of work. We were emerging into the ‘new normal’ so required concurrent planning to produce a good plan to work with new conditions; therefore needing an independent review to be undertaken of the present situation
· Reassure the management team this was to support them and acknowledge the pressures that they have been under
· In economic terms this was exactly the right time to act in order to continue to deliver exceptional services to the residents of East Devon
· We owe this to SMT as professional and responsible employees to do this review
The Portfolio Holder Council and Corporate Co-ordination stated there was never a right time to conduct a management review. This was a review of the senior management structure. The council had moved from Sidmouth to Honiton, invested in technology to develop services, establish remote working and working from home as well as coming out of a pandemic. All this had led to an opportunity to look into the different ways of working and how the staff had responded to this, as well as the stresses and strains this had put onto the organisation. Cabinet was looking to be positive, proactive and engaging to the needs of the organisation. This was the time to take stock and look forward to the needs of the organisation and adapt only if there was evidence of a need to do so. This review was not driven by the need or intention to save money and was looking for an outcome that was not pre-determined. The review would look at the future management structure as the council emerged from the pandemic and build on the positives that had been seen though the way the organisation had worked over the past 12 months.
The Chair explained that the council had lost two members of its SMT over the last year so therefore had lost the benefit that these roles provided, this in his opinion was causing stress and strain across the whole organisation. He stated the Country was emerging out of the pandemic so felt that this was the appropriate time for the review to be conducted. He wished to ensure staff the review was not intended to de-stabilise the council and its staff, nor reduce staff numbers.
1. that the contents of this report are noted and endorsed,
2. that delegated authority be granted to the Monitoring Officer to establish a politically balanced member working group comprising of 7 members, to oversee and input into this project. That it also be noted that the working group would include representatives from the Devon Procurement Service, DCC HR Services, Unison and the LGA,
3. that the CEO take all necessary steps to progress this project in consultation with the working group.
RECOMMENDED to Council:
4. that a budget of circa £25k to be allocated to this project.
To take forward the Leader’s request.