Staff will be forced to reapply for their jobs

ALL management posts at Cheshire East Council are being ‘deleted’ and staff will be forced to reapply for their jobs.

The authority is planning a major shake-up of its management structure in the wake of the Lyme Green scandal.

Cheshire East’s cabinet has approved plans to save £5 million a year by 2015 by reducing management overheads.

Staff have been warned that compulsory redundancies could be unavoidable.

The radical move comes after £800,000 of taxpayers’ money was wasted by starting groundwork on a recycling plant in Macclesfield without planning permission.

Kim Ryley, Cheshire East’s interim chief executive, has admitted that the fiasco exposed serious flaws in the council’s organisational culture.

“These have sometimes caused confusion, poor decision making and inefficiency because it was not always clear who had the authority to act,” he says in the report.

He added that lessons learned from Lyme Green show that changes should be made in management roles and responsibilities.

Mr Ryley added: “One unwelcome product of our present structures has been the unintended creation of an organisational culture in which key decisions and judgements are sometimes insufficiently challenged.”

The strategy is similar to one that Mr Ryley spearheaded in his former post as chief executive at Shropshire Council in 2011.

At the time there were plans to dismiss 6,500 staff and then rehire them if they agree to a pay cut and different terms and conditions.

The number of senior management posts at Cheshire East will be reduced by a quarter, while those successful in applying for the council’s new roles will be more accountable for their actions.

Two big changes will see the authority’s two existing strategic directors for people and places replaced by a single director of strategic commissioning with a salary of £130,000.

There will also be a new chief operating officer who will be paid up to £120,000.

Changes to management will be completed in three phases, starting with Cheshire East’s senior posts by Easter 2013, posts with salaries of £30,000 or more by July and ‘frontline’ team leaders and supervisors by September.

In the report, Mr Ryley said: “All current management posts are to be deleted from the council’s staffing structure and postholders will need to apply for – and be formally assessed on their suitability for – newly-established posts.

“Where individuals are displaced by this process, support will be provided to redeploy them into suitable alternative employment, either in the council or elsewhere.”

During the cabinet meeting, Labour councillor Sam Corcoran accused the council of using Lyme Green as an ‘excuse’ to ‘force through major changes’.

He added: “Most people think that Cheshire East Council is already out of its depth.

“We now seem to be embarking on a great leap forward, but I’m not sure whether we will sink or swim.”

The full council will consider the plans on February 28.

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