Agenda item

Chief Officer Structure - The New Operating Model


The Chief Executive introduced a report which set out a proposal for a new organisational structure; a key phase of implementing the new operating model for the Council to enable the organisation to deliver the 20 Pledges for 2020 described within the Wirral Plan.


The operating model was based on three key themes: improving outcomes for residents, securing excellent services and being a well-run organisation. This initial phase of the model was focussed on an organisational restructure, and would be supported by a new organisational development and culture change programme to further develop the Council’s approach and capacity to deliver the Wirral Plan.


The Council’s existing senior management structure was implemented in 2012. The Council now had in place the Wirral Plan, further developed partnerships and devolution. The Council required a new structure to ensure it had the capacity and resources in the right place to deliver its plans whilst also addressing the financial challenges ahead of making savings of over £132m over the next five years.


The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development outlined the principles of the proposed new structure and the alignment to new roles in the proposed new operating model.


Councillor Green whilst accepting much of the analysis of the Chief Executive for the proposed new structure expressed concerns about the way in which it was to be implemented. He also voiced concerns at the inconsistency in that one of the Council’s top priorities in its 2020 Plan was the building of 3,500 new homes and, the only proposed redundancy arising from the proposed new structure was the Head of Housing, with the proposal that this role be dissipated across three elements of the proposed new structure. The public would be angered to see this with the early release of pension costs being paid for from their Council Tax payments.


Councillor Green also expressed concern at the slotting in to new roles and that the public would also be rightly angry at proposals giving a number of people significant pay increases.


Councillor McLaughlin expressed concern over the disconnect between the Directors for Health and Care and for Children not having direct influence over delivery.


The Chief Executive assured the Committee that on the delivery side there would be an accountability framework and that through performance management both these Directors would have to assure themselves that services were being delivered to a satisfactory standard. This framework was still being worked out around the Children’s Service but had already been worked out for the adult care side. They were working with providers to focus on quality assurance and not just on procurement. He explained how the proposed new model would help in delivering on the housing strategy with the proposed Strategic Commissioner for Environment having a very good team of staff already in place. He acknowledged that accountability was critical not just in Children’s and Adult services but across all services. Accountability statements would be in place with agreed targets, budgets and management arrangements.


Councillor Rennie commented that four years ago she had been persuaded by the previous Chief Executive about the justification for having three Strategic Directors in post, but was now disappointed that the transformation agenda had not been progressed. If the Council was to operate as a business there was a need to bring in people from the commercial and business world and not just to recruit from within the public sector. These would be exciting times for housing and it would be a real shame for the Head of Housing to be made redundant. Councillor Rennie acknowledged the fantastic work being undertaken by Wirral Evolutions but there was still a long way to go in aligning what the Council did as a local authority with the work of the health services.


Councillor Gilchrist expressed his reservations and unease at the proposal to slot people into positions without them being tried and tested as to their suitability for the roles. He also expressed concerns at the cost of the proposed redundancy.


Councillor Phil Davies referred to the external expertise, that of the LGA, which had looked at the proposed new operating model and had said it was an appropriate model for the Council. The saving of £349,000 was also not an insignificant saving given the huge cuts that the Council would need to make over the coming years. He agreed with Councillor Green that the proposed new model was an elegant solution; it would give clarity between strategy and delivery with business services assisting both. He expressed confidence that Wirral had a first class housing team with a lot of expertise which would be able to deliver under the Strategic Commissioner for Environment and the Assistant Director of Environmental Services.


He also stated that the transformation agenda was the most important priority and there was a need to make good progress, citing both Edsential and Wirral Evolutions as the way forward. The new Director of Transformation would be a key role and there was a need to look beyond the public sector and attract a wide variety of candidates for this post.


As the Chief Executive had recommended the Committee support this proposed new structure Members should put their trust in him and let him get on with delivering. He was confident that the proposed structure was fit for purpose.


Councillor Green again expressed his concerns and the fact that the Committee was not just being asked to agree a new structure but to fill the new roles too. He did not believe that matrix management worked.


The Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development circulated a revised set of recommendations incorporating an amendment to paragraph 2.3 following a recent resignation. Also circulated was an amended timetable for internal and external recruitment and a draft job description for the Assistant Director: Health and Care Outcomes.


On a motion by Councillor Phil Davies, seconded by Councillor George Davies, it was then –


Resolved (4:3) – 


(1)  That the new Chief Officer structure of the Council, detailed in Appendix One (including the deletion, creation and change of roles), with the appointment to those roles as appropriate with effect from 1 November 2016, be approved.


(2)  That the following senior managers be appointed to Chief Officer positions:


·  Alan Evans (Investment and Business Manager) as Strategic Commissioner for Growth


·  Sue Talbot (Schools Commissioning Manager) as Lead Commissioner for Schools


(3)  That politically proportionate Appointments Panels be established, in accordance with the terms of reference set out in Appendix Two, for the following posts to be advertised internally:


·  Assistant Director: Community Services

·  Assistant Director: Health and Care Outcomes; and

·  Assistant Director: Adult and Disability Services (Fixed Term contract)


For the following posts to be advertised externally:


·  Transformation Director (Fixed Term contract)

·  Assistant Director: Commissioning Support

·  Assistant Director: Health and Care Outcomes*; and

·  Assistant Director: Adult and Disability Services (Fixed Term contract)*


*If not appointed to internally


(4)  That the posts specified in (3) be advertised as soon as possible following the Employments and Appointments Committee on 25 July 2016.


(5)  That the Appointments Panel be given the authority to agree the appropriate salary and contract terms for the Transformation Director and Assistant Director: Commissioning Support.


(6)  That the Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development be authorised to make and undertake all requisite arrangements necessary for the above internal and external appointments to be made.


(7)  That the proposed timetable for external and internal recruitment as set out in the revised Appendix Three, be agreed. 


(8)  That this Committee RECOMMENDS to Council that the Council’s Pay Policy be amended to reflect a change in the title of grade from ‘Strategic Director’ (Spinal Column Points 1-5) to ‘Senior Director’ (Spinal Column Points 1-5), as the Strategic Director is to be replaced by the three new senior posts. There are no changes to the salaries for this grade. 


(9)  That it is recommended that before the Council implements the proposed structure on 1 November 2016, there is a review of the framework and details relating to Children’s Services, subject to the findings of the OFSTED inspection.

Supporting documents: