Shake-up for top officer jobs at Norfolk County Council revealed

Dr Wendy Thomson, managing director of Norfolk County Council, has revealed her proposed management

Dr Wendy Thomson, managing director of Norfolk County Council, has revealed her proposed management structure for the authority. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A shake-up of the senior management at Norfolk County Council has been revealed by the authority's new managing director, with the council's £100,000 a year head of customer services and communications set to lose her job.

The council had agreed to a new management structure in November last year, but that decision was rescinded after a Conservative-led council vote in January.

The authority voted, by 51 to 28, to stop the process, to enable the new managing director to decide on what structure they wanted.

Dr Wendy Thomson became managing director in August and today unveiled her proposed management structure for the top officers at County Hall.

The shake-up will see the loss of one post in the senior management team, that of head of customer services and communications - currently held by Joanna Hannam.

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If given the go-ahead by the full county council when it meets on Monday, October 20, it will bring to an end 14 years at County Hall for Mrs Hannam, who formerly worked at Norfolk Health Authority.

The severance cost for deleting her post is £49,330, including pension strain (payable to the Norfolk Pension Fund) of £7,529, Dr Thomson's report states. It would, the report states, save the council almost £132,000 a year.

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With a number of chief officer posts at County Hall currently filled on an interim basis, Dr Thomson's report makes clear she wants permanent appointments in place as soon as possible.

The new set-up will see the number of chief officers posts reduced from 10 to five executive directors reporting directly to Dr Thomson.

Those would be: executive director of adult social services; executive director of children's services; executive director of communities and environment; executive director of finance and the newly created executive director of resource, which would cost between £152,812 and £177,152 a year.

Dr Thomson says, in her report: 'A streamlined top team charged with a clear remit will provide more effective leadership, much required to direct the county council in these challenging times. The organisation must have the capacity to adapt to a constantly changing context.'

The report says the reduction in senior management posts since 2010 has reduced expenditure by £600,000, although the addition of a director of public health to the council's payroll reduces that to £470,000.

The shake-up is widely seen as the precursor for further changes and job losses at Norfolk County Council, which is in the midst of making £189m of savings over three years.

The report acknowledges: 'If agreed there will be a further review of the management structures below the director level. If this review results in the redundancy or an increase or decrease in responsibilities of those levels, the council's employment procedures will take effect and redeployment will be sought where possible.'

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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