Friday, 7 February 2014
Cornwall Council's new Chief Executive Andrew Kerr has hit the ground running.
He has announced that almost half the most senior management posts at the Council will go. I am sorry that this will be a painful process for the individuals involved but if the Council is going to be leaner it has to start at the top.
The breadth of activity carried on by the Council is vast. One new directorate, for example, will be responsible for the environment (including waste and transport) and the economy. This will include working with the Local Enterprise Partnership to spend £500m new investment monies coming from the EU. Another directorate will cover public health, adult social care, safeguarding of children and education.
So this downsizing is not without risk. However, it is a risk that must be taken. I hope that the appointee to the Health, Social Care and Children's directorate is really able to grasp the opportunity provided by the money from Central Government to integrate the activities of the Council in this area with the NHS. We need to stop trying to assign blame for issues such as 'bed blocking', and instead concentrate on finding solutions to improve the health and well being of Cornish residents.
Of course, this can only be the start of the Council's efforts to reduce its management costs and it is something the Conservative group have been advocating all the way through the budget process.
I imagine that there will be significant redundancy costs. These need to be kept under strict control and I doubt the financial savings will be immediate.
Urgent consideration will also need to be given to downsizing the political machine at the Council. There are just too many meetings which are not an efficient use of members' or officers' time. With less officers the elected members will need to show the Chief Executive that they too can act promptly to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and costs.
A good start, but this will need to be a fair and progressive reorganisation of the management structure of the Council in which the members will have to play a large part.
Posted by Fiona Ferguson at 11:40