Assurances for children’s care as two senior managers to leave Peterborough City Council

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Care for vulnerable children will not be compromised due to senior management job losses, according to the chief executive of Peterborough City Council.

Gillian Beasley assured councillors that the loss of two posts and a restructuring of others will not leave officers unable to care for at-risk children.

Ms Beasley’s restructure of senior managers is set to save the council over £500,000.

This is the second occasion where she has reviewed senior management.

The first review in 2013 proved controversial - six posts were removed but some officers received a pay rise which led to much criticism, although defenders of the changes pointed out it would save the council £1 million.

The second and final review was today (Thursday January 22) approved by councillors on the Employment Committee.

The restructure sees nine posts deleted and five created, with three others also seeing a change to their name.

The biggest change sees the position of executive director for children’s services removed with responsibilities incorporated into the new post of corporate director: people and communities.

Further posts to go include executive director: adult social care and public health, head of growth and regeneration, director for communities and assistant director: commissioning.

New posts which have been created include service director: children’s and service director: adults and communities.

Ms Beasley said she could give assurances for children’s social care following the changes.

This was because a review of her own restructure had been carried out by Russell Wate, independent chair of the Peterborough Children’s Local Safeguarding Board.

Ms Beasley said: “This is a strong and secure arrangement to be put in place for a number of years to come.

“I’m pleased Russell feels re-assured by these arrangements.

“The two restructures will have saved £1.5 million which is a substantial amount.”

Addressing Ms Beasley, Councillor Charles Swift said: “I’m seriously concerned at the cuts we have to make overall.

“I want to be assured at the end of the day we are not cutting off our nose to spite our face.

“Can this restructure be done with us maintaing our services as they are now?”

Ms Beasley replied: “This re-structure gives people more responsibility but with safeguards.

“This is manageable. People will recognise they need to work harder but they are very positive about the changes that are to be made.

“I think we have good officers who are up for the changes that are being put forward.”

Cllr John Holdich said: “All group leaders have been briefed on this and there was no dissent. They have agreed to support it and all the salaries.

“This has removed two salaries over £100,000.

“This sends out the right message. As well as the workforce we have looked at a management restructure as well.

“People do criticise officers in local government but we have some great talent who work really hard.

“They are not nine-five but nine-nine and Saturdays and Sundays as well.”

“Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald added: “It’s interesting to note the council is accused of making cuts in front-line services such as adult social care, but this shows we have to make cuts in all areas.

“The important issue is who we put in the roles.”

The restructure was fully agreed by the committee.

The committee will now discuss job descriptions next Tuesday with interviews to take place at a later date.