Overview and Scrutiny 18 December 2018

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Councillors received a progress report on changes to Epping Forest District Council’s management structures at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny on 18 December. The People Strategy was introduced in 2017. Strategic Director Georgina Blakemore took councillors through the latest updates.

People Strategy Update at Scrutiny

The District Council is moving away from the traditional local government operating models based on service structures. Instead a new structure – the Common Operating Model – is being introduced which builds council services around the customer. New Customer Services and Business Support areas have already been introduced. Specialist and technical services are being grouped separately.

The senior management structure is largely in place. Georgina Blakemore was recruited as the Council’s Strategic Director earlier in the year and was instrumental in the appointment of new Service Directors. The new approach sees only four layers of management geared towards improved efficiency and effectiveness with front-line staff empowered to make decisions as close to service delivery as possible:

  • Level 4 – the Chief Executive and Strategic Director
  • Level 3 – the Service Directors (also known as the managers of managers)
  • Level 2 – 17 new Service Managers currently being recruited and due to be in position by the end of January
  • Level 1 – Team Managers along with several specialist and technical roles due to be in place by the end of June.

Other strands to the people Strategy include the use of modern technology to encourage home and agile working. A review of staff pay and benefits is underway.

Georgina Blakemore emphasised the aims of the People Strategy, focusing on leadership, staff skills, capacity and resources including the ability to attract and retain good people with competitive pay and benefits.

A reduction in senior management has achieved more than £600,000 in savings during 2018/19. The Council needs to find a further £1.5m in 2019/20 from savings and additional income. It has a policy of doing all it can to avoid compulsory redundancies and is aiming to complete the implementation of the People Strategy within 18 months.

Other items at Overview and Scrutiny

Councillors also considered reports looking at the future arrangements for Overview and Scrutiny, a review of polling districts, polling places and polling stations, the forward plan of key decisions, the Corporate Plan and the committee’s own work programme for 2018/19.