Plug pulled on Norfolk County Council shake-up

The council voted, by 51 to 28, with one abstention, to stop the reorganisation and to retitle the top officer as managing director, rather than chief executive. The council voted, by 51 to 28, with one abstention, to stop the reorganisation and to retitle the top officer as managing director, rather than chief executive.

Monday, January 20, 2014
1:28 PM

The plug has been pulled on a shake-up of the senior management at Norfolk County Council, after a group leader said he had “slipped up” at a previous meeting.

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In November, the council agreed to a new management structure and started the recruitment process for a new chief executive.

But at a meeting of the full council today, Toby Coke, the leader of the UK Independence Party group said he had “slipped up” in not properly briefing his group before that vote.

And he backed a motion by Conservative leader Bill Borrett to rescind the council’s decision and look to appoint a managing director first - before deciding a management structure.

The council voted, by 51 to 28, with one abstention, to stop the reorganisation and to retitle the top officer as managing director, rather than chief executive.

Mr Coke said: “I slipped up at the last meeting, which meant my group was not briefed on this matter.

“I appreciate this could cause some difficulties in the short term, but will give the new managing director more freedom to appoint their own team.”

Steve Morphew, Labour cabinet member for finance, said that meant more than £25,000 spent on recruiting for a chief executive had been wasted.

Mr Morphew, had urged the council to throw out the motion, saying it risked damaging the council’s reputation at a time when the authority needed to get on with issues such as its budget and improving the county’s infrastructure.

But Mr Borrett said the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration had caused its own delay, by putting recruitment on ice after May’s elections.

The new management structure, which interim managing director Anne Gibson had proposed, would have led to the loss of one post in the senior management team and further changes, including redundancies, in posts below chief officers.

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