Council approve a leadership restructure after damning review
PUBLISHED: 21:24 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:24 15 January 2020
A council branded ‘weak and divided’ in a recent report has approved a new leadership structure.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) have approved the restructuring, which will see two chief executives be reduced to one.
A report prepared following a 'capability review' of the authority was debated by councillors last night (15).
The report recommended revamping the council's leadership so it was "aligned to deliver and achieve the ambitions that members have set out" in a corporate plan drawn up after the Liberal Democrats took full control of the council in May last year.
The report advised replacing the council's two heads of paid service, currently Steve Blatch and Nick Baker, with one chief executive.
Council leader Sarah Bütikofer said: "I think it is important to say at the outset that the decision to investigate and then report back to full council the matter that we are discussing this evening has not been taken lightly or without regard to the potential impact of the organisation.
"The whole point of this evening is to be transparent and make clear that we won't hide the decisions that we make and that we will make them in public.
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"I think there is this constant jibing that we don't make decisions, well I think we have made quite a lot of decisions since we have taken over the shambles that we were handed over by the previous administration."
A total of 28 councillors supported the recommendations while six rejected.
The report followed the council bringing in a £1k-a-day consultant, Peter Thomas Ltd, in May to look at how well things were working there.
The report made a series of damning findings including "serious concerns" about a "weak and divided" senior leadership.
The findings were rejected by the opposition Conservatives, who controlled the council from 2011 to November 2018.
Duncan Baker, the MP for north Norfolk and the district councillor for Holt said: "It's incredibly sad that the administration has demolished the once upbeat atmosphere into one of unhappiness and depression.
"The capability report was nothing more than a long winded smoke screen to bring us to this evenings restructure, a waste of taxpayers money and a disruptive process for this council.
"To use a report to pull the trigger of a gun that you don't have the bravery to fire yourself is unprofessional."
Both of the executives are paid between £85,000 and £90,000 a year.
The council will now start a formal consultation with the two heads of paid service.
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