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Wiltshire Council to re-organise itself yet again

June 9, 2020 4:51 PM

WC started with one Chief Executive, as is normal for councils. Then it tried three of them, which worked well for some time. Then it went down to two, and now Wiltshire's Conservative administration has decided it's a good time to go back to the beginning and have one boss. The lengthy process of implementation, which will lead to the redundancy of one of the current post-holders, has now begun. Here's the WC announcement:

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Cabinet approves proposed changes to Wiltshire Council senior leadership structure

Wiltshire Council's Cabinet today (Tuesday 9 June) approved steps to make a change to the senior leadership structure of the council to support the COVID-19 recovery plan and delivery of ongoing savings.

The proposed change will see a reduction from two Chief Executive Officers to one Chief Executive.

The current structure is relatively new and has been working effectively, particularly most recently with the council's response to COVID 19, allowing the council to focus on supporting those who have been in need and vulnerable during this emergency, as well as supporting businesses with the aim of minimising the impact of this pandemic on Wiltshire's economy.

The pandemic and the council's finances mean that their existing strategies and priorities will need to be refocused to reflect the radically changed context that they will be working in as a result.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "The collaborative approach in the council's response to COVID-19 and the strong leadership provided by the two Chief Executive Officers throughout this has been exemplary.

"However, in my discussions with the Chief Executive Officers they have outlined that despite the success of our response to COVID-19, it has highlighted duplication of work as they sought to make joint decisions on areas of work, and in their collaboration with partners.

"In addition the response has had a significant impact on the council's financial position and this, together with the impact on our communities and our economy, will mean challenges that require us to evolve and change to meet them.

"This proposal was made after discussion with the current Chief Executive Officers, who suggested that the current tier one structure and roles need to change to a single Chief Executive to work with myself and cabinet as the council focuses on its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I agreed.

"The impact of COVID 19 on our communities and economy has created challenges which require the council to evolve and change to meet them. Work is under way to help Wiltshire's people, economy and businesses to rebuild, and will also include steps to address the significant impact on the council's services and finances.

"The council needs to evolve to meet the changing needs of our communities and economy, and requires a single officer at the top of the organisation to lead the council's COVID-19 recovery plan and deliver our ongoing financial savings, working closely with communities and businesses as well as partner organisations as we move forwards."

The final structure will be confirmed after 16 June, following a period of formal consultation with the Chief Executive Officers.