UPDATE: Top dog at Norfolk council announces his departure after senior management review is rubber stamped

The top dog at North Norfolk District Council has announced he will be leaving the authority next month after members pushed through a review to cut the number of senior staff.

Chief executive Philip Burton will step down from the role he has held for more than eight years to take early retirement, as he feels now is the right time to create a 'streamlined' team of top management.

Members at last night's full council meeting agreed to take the first step in slashing the number of high ranking staff by bringing in the review, in a bid to save the authority a minimum of �150,000.

Under the new management structure, which will be brought in over the summer, the current team of five corporate managers will be slashed to three and cuts will be made to the number of senior officers, which currently stands at 14.

Mr Burton said: 'I have greatly enjoyed my time at north Norfolk, working with a dedicated staff, councillors and partner organisations to deliver a wide range of high quality services and exciting initiatives to local communities.

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'I shall be sad to be leaving, but I feel the time is now right to create a streamlined top management focused on delivering the new corporate plan and taking the council forward through what are tough conditions for local government.'

He told members at last night's meeting that the council's top level structure had not changed since 2006 and it was 'important' it now came under scrutiny.

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'The top management is costing the council too much, it's as simple as that,' he added.

It is expected that Mr Burton's role - along with the two new streamlined top level positions - will be filled by existing members of the council's corporate management team, currently made up of deputy chief executive Sheila Oxtoby and strategic directors Steve Blatch, Nick Baker and Tony Ing.

Interviews for the new chief executive role will take place tomorrow and on January 6 for the two new strategic directors.

Mr Burton 'came home' when he joined the council by returning to the corner of Norfolk where he went to school. The former Paston Grammar School student began his career in local government in 1977 when he worked as a housing officer in the London borough of Brent and joined colleagues in Cromer in September 2003.

Council leader Helen Eales said Mr Burton had been a 'tower of strength' to her during her first months as leader, and would be 'missed by all' at the authority when he leaves in January.

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