Council chief departure still a mystery

IAN CLARKE The full story about the background surrounding the departure of former Breckland Council chief executive Becky Hellard still remains a mystery almost a year since she quit the authority.

IAN CLARKE

The full story about the background surrounding the departure of former Breckland Council chief executive Becky Hellard still remains a mystery almost a year since she quit the authority.

A veil of secrecy was thrown over the reasons for her leaving her £108,000 a year post at Breckland last December.

She had been put under investigation after complaints were made against her.


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The EDP discovered she received a £65,000 pay off despite working no notice and there was widespread disquiet among taxpayers,

A so-called compromise agreement was reached between Ms Hellard and Breckland which prevented the release of any information unless both sides agreed.

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The EDP was refused more details by Breckland and in January we appealed to the Information Commissioner asking him to investigate whether Breckland Council should be more open.

The EDP has had three letters during this year saying the ICO's office saying there has been a backlog of cases and an investigation has not been able to begin.

A spokesman told the EDP a case officer had still not started work on our appeal but he said: “It should not be much longer.”

Ms Hellard now has a senior job with Bradford Council.

Meanwhile, Breckland hopes to save more than £20,000 by restructuring its senior management team.

Currently there is a chief executive, deputy chief executive, and three operations managers.

The proposal is for a senior team of four including the chief executive, deputy chief executive, and only two of the operations managers, both of which will be renamed strategic directors.

There will be no redundancies as a result of the changes because one of the operations manager posts is currently vacant.

The new strategic director roles will be slightly different to the previous posts.

Paul Caulkin is due to be the strategic director (business transformation) and will be responsible for environmental health, environmental planning, Anglia Revenues Partnership, customer services, ICT and development services.

Mark Stokes is due to be the strategic director (services) and will be in charge of culture and leisure, community development and street scene.

In a report chief executive Trevor Holden said: “This minor reorganisation will save the council in the order of £20,000 per year while assisting us to improve the quality of services that we are able to provide to residents.

The reorganisation is due to be discussed at the meeting of the council on Thursday .

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