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Chief executive of Norfolk’s largest council recommends that he is made redundant

PUBLISHED: 13:46 10 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:52 11 December 2012

David White, Norfolk County Council chief executive Photo: Bill Smith

David White, Norfolk County Council chief executive Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

The chief executive of Norfolk’s largest council has recommended he leaves within months - after it became “crystal clear” he lacks the skills the authority needs.

Norfolk county councillors are to be asked next month to agree making the post of chief executive in its current format redundant, with effect from April 6, 2013.

David White, who holds the post with an annual basic salary of £205,322, came to the conclusion five weeks into his review of the council’s structure.

He said he supports the Conservative cabinet’s desire to be less reliant on government grants and find more ways of generating income.

But Mr White, who joined in October 2006, said he does not have the “level of commercial skill and experience” the council will need.

The Conservative hierarchy has stated it wants his replacement to have “broader business experience”.

Mr White’s redundancy pay out will be £35,439, according to the council.

Mr White said: “The cabinet has very clear objectives for the current organisational review, which I support, not least of which is the desire to see the authority much more commercially focused in the future, bringing in more income so it is less reliant on government grant and able to do more for Norfolk.

“At this stage in the review, it is already crystal clear that the council will need from its managerial leader a level of commercial skill and experience not required from my current post and that I simply do not have.”

Mr White’s early conclusion was discussed by the authority’s personnel committee.

They have put forward a recommendation to the next full council meeting on Monday, January 14, to accept Mr White’s findings.

Mr White will also provide a report to the Tory cabinet recommending a revised senior management structure, plus other ideas about how the council should operate from 2014, should his departure be approved.

In 2010, Norfolk County Council started a three-year project to make cuts of £135m after government funding was reduced.

The authority last month started a review to save a further £125m over three years from 2014.

Mr White said the role of chief executive needed to be given a new meaning and be in line with the council’s aspirations.

He added: “Though I will be very sad to leave the authority, this is clearly the necessary next step for the county council to take.”

County council leader Derrick Murphy said Mr White will have helped the council make savings of £105m by March 2013.

More than 1,600 jobs have gone at the council, which employs 7,100 people.

Mr Murphy said: “The authority is grateful to David for what he has achieved in his time here and he will be a loss, but like him, I am convinced that this is the necessary next step for the council as a whole.

“We are determined the county council becomes much more self-funding in the future, because that is the best way of ensuring that we continue to deliver high quality public services.

“So we need our most senior manager to have more of a business and commercial focus to their job and the skills, acumen and level of broader business experience necessary to deliver it well.

“In this sense, it will see a move away from the traditional local government role.”

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