Money saving plans could see more roles shared between Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn,
Wendi Ogle-Welbourn,
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Money saving plans could see more roles shared between Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Proposals to share a number of corporate director roles– aimed at strengthening both council’s approach to tackling deprivation and inequalities - will be discussed at Cambridgeshire County Council’s staffing and appeals committee next week (Friday 16 June).

The shared arrangements would cover senior management across education, community and safety, commissioning, children’s services and adult services at both authorities, and in addition to other benefits lead to savings of just over £1m for Cambridgeshire County Council and £200k for Peterborough City Council.

The proposals follow the temporary appointment of Wendi Ogle-Welbourn last year to the joint role of executive director of children, family and adult services at Cambridgeshire County Council and corporate director of people and communities at Peterborough City Council, and mirrors the two councils’ earlier decision to share the post of Chief Executive – Gillian Beasley, and that of Director of Public Health - Liz Robin.

If this new management structure is approved, the two councils will replace a total of 10 existing senior roles with five service directors working across both authorities for adult services, education, community and safety, children’s services and commissioning.

The new management team would be led by Mrs Ogle-Welbourn - who if the proposal is approved would be confirmed as overall executive director.

Peterborough City Council leader councillor John Holdich said: “Both councils are responsible for providing these services to their residents and both of us have experienced the increase in demand in recent years. Our councils already work well together on key issues and by introducing this new management structure we hope it would have a number of long-term benefits.

“These include having greater purchasing power when commissioning services, spending less on senior management positions and being better prepared for opportunities provided by devolution such as integrating health and social care in the future.

“Local government is in an era of ever-decreasing government funding and many councils up and down the country are sharing services as we all consider what our financial resources are likely to be in the future. This proposal maintains both councils’ sovereignty as both sets of councillors will continue to make the best decisions for their own residents through the usual governance processes.”

Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count said: “We already successfully share two of the most senior roles across our two councils – Gillian Beasley and Liz Robin, an innovation which has given our two authorities great opportunities to work together on some of the key issues facing people we represent.

“By proposing this new management structure we hope to realise more long-term benefits around better buying power, efficiencies in costs and working with our partners in health, criminal justice and other parts of local and national government.

“But in particular this proposal allows us to capitalise on opportunities presented by Devolution, as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have talked about a second Devolution deal with a focus on tackling areas of multiple deprivation and integrating health and social care. With a joint structure

we can speak with one voice and maximise our effectiveness.

“But at the same time, this in no way diminishes either councils’ sovereignty as both sets of councillors will continue to make the best local decisions for their own residents through the usual governance processes.”

Consultation has taken place with staff and unions in both councils with results being presented to both committees on June 16. If agreed across both councils the new management structure could be implemented from July 2017.