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Controversial £1k-a-day report blasted as 'flawed' by opposition councillor

PUBLISHED: 16:41 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:42 06 January 2020

Council leader Sarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat, said the people of north Norfolk wanted the council to take action. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Council leader Sarah Butikofer, Liberal Democrat, said the people of north Norfolk wanted the council to take action. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats

A report criticising a council's leadership structure has been blasted as "flawed and deficient of clear evidence" by a councillor.

Karen Ward, Liberal Democrat councillor. Picture: Karen WardKaren Ward, Liberal Democrat councillor. Picture: Karen Ward

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) will hold a consultation on replacing its corporate director roles with a single chief executive - after a capability report published last year slammed its leadership as "weak and divided".

The report recommended the two heads of paid service be replaced with one chief executive, and found there was a "top down culture" and an "unhealthy gap".

But the report's publication was mired in controversy after it was revealed the work was carried out by a contact of a senior Liberal Democrat councillor - without the usual rules being applied.

Lib Dem council leader Sarah Butikofer said a committee had found no individuals were at fault, but said procedures would change.

Nigel Dixon, councillor on North Norfolk District Council. Picture: NNDCNigel Dixon, councillor on North Norfolk District Council. Picture: NNDC

READ MORE: 'Weak, divided': Council leadership slammed by £1k-a-day consultant

And at a meeting on Monday, January 6, councillors agreed to launch the consultation.

A report put before NNDC's cabinet stated: "It is proposed that the corporate director roles are deleted and replaced with a single chief executive.

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"This report seeks authority to move forwards with a formal consultation with the directors."

But Conservative councillor Nigel Dixon told the committee he had "concerns about the scope and quality" of the capability report and asked for the consultation to be deferred.

He said: "There are concerns about the scope and quality of that report. During 2017 and 2018 the political leadership was in difficulty and that would have seriously affected the ability of the corporate leadership team to implement delivery of the council agenda - that too isn't adequately reflected in the report.

"The report is flawed and deficient of clear evidence to support the proposal."

He added: "I am all for brevity but this three-page paper is deficient of the evidence needed to make the case."

But Mrs Butikofer said the all the information needed had been made available to councillors.

"We are not talking about making a decision today," she said. "I think it's time that this council moved forwards.

"I have given ample time for this council to move forwards in a constructive manner and I have not seen that. It is time to take action. The people of north Norfolk need that."

The proposal was unanimously agreed by all cabinet members.

READ MORE: Council probes how it hired contact of Lib Dem candidate for £1k a day job

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