Top bosses at South Kesteven District Council at risk as redundancies sought

Aidan Rave
Aidan Rave
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Senior council managers at South Kesteven District Council may face the axe as the council plans a restructure of its senior management team.

Already, chief executive Aidan Rave has approached members of the senior management team in respect of voluntary redundancy.

An assistant chief executive (transformation and change) is also to be appointed as part of the shake-up.

Councillors have been deciding on the restructure 
behind closed doors, with Mr Rave due to give an update on progress before next Thursday’s meeting of the employment committee.

Council minutes for two meetings the committee held in March say the restructure is being driven by a shift in council philosophy as it seeks to become more businesslike, generating its own revenues to help make up for cuts in government funding.

Mr Rave previously told the employment committee the aim is to “develop a structure that mirrored the themes in the emerging corporate strategy.”

This strategy focussed on officers accepting the council was political and followed the wishes of councillors, the council also changing from an organisation focussed on hierarchy to one more flexible, with performance measured on fewer but more relevant factors.

The strategy sought “an agile and flexible organisation that was as efficient as it could be.”

The minutes further revealed Mr Rave explained: “the authority’s structure would not be based around three separate directorates that acted autonomously but about a lean and agile organisation.”

They continued: “Cultural shift was identified as the most important in delivering success. Members were advised that the organisation was currently inflexible, bureaucratic and risk averse, which was not consistent with the kind of organisation the council wanted to be. Instead, the council’s officers would need to take a more commercial approach, understanding the dynamics of profit and loss and commercial sustainability.”

The meeting heard that some progress has already been made in respect of innovation and transformation, which incorporated “the ability to think ahead and identify opportunities that would put the council ahead.”

The council would become smaller than present, but it would work with more external organisations.

“It was expected that the biggest change would be a shift to a more knowledge-rich organisation.”

The minutes of the first meeting, held on March 7, added: “The chief executive said there were no current plans to review lower levels of the organisation and the preferred approach was managing vacancies and ensuring the efficient management of resources.”

Further discussion of the “senior management arrangements” also took place when employment committee met on Tuesday March 20.

Its minutes reveal the committee unanimously “approved the new senior management structure as presented.”

Members also “approved the processes to be undertaken by the chief executive in relation to the new structure as regards to existing staff and external recruitment where necessary.”

Interviews would also take place on March 27 for an assistant chief executive.

Mr Rave confirmed to the Journal: “We are currently going through a restructure of the senior leadership team, the details of which have not yet been finalised. We are also working closely with a neighbouring authority to share resources and reduce our overall costs.