Pause on sharing senior directors in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire announced

A pause on sharing senior directors in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire has been announced.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 8:41 am

The new leadership at Cambridgeshire County Council has issued a moratorium on appointing any more staff alongside Peterborough City Council who are director level or above.

Instead, all senior appointments will be made for the county council only.

The new approach is a big step-change from a process which began with Peterborough sharing its chief executive, Gillian Beasley, with the county council and has since seen all top jobs shared other than the chief finance officer.

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Gillian Beasley is chief executive of both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Many departments also have less senior officials working across both authorities.

In Peterborough, the role-sharing arrangements have been praised by the Conservatives for not only allowing expertise to be more widely distributed, but also for generating multi-million pound savings.

These have come from shared salaries, as well as the ability to sign joint contracts on services.

The county council is to be run by a new joint administration of Liberal Democrat, Labour and independent councillors, led by Lib Dem Cllr Lucy Nethsingha.

Asked for more details on the moratorium, which was included in a signed protocol from the new administration, Cllr Nethsingha declined to comment further.

But Cllr Nick Sandford, leader of Peterborough’s Lib Dem group, who has sat on the authority’s Employment Committee, told the Peterborough Telegraph: “This is a positive thing.

“Speaking to Lucy, the process in recruiting more joint appointments with Cambridgeshire seems to have taken on momentum of its own.

“My fear has always been that it becomes an unstoppable process and we eventually get merged back into Cambridgeshire.

“The actual issues Peterborough have in a lot of areas are different to Cambridgeshire so I’m keen to maintain independence.

“One of the reasons Peterborough City Council has been keen for joint appointments is the cost savings. Having a moratorium will allow both councils to look at the process and have a more strategic approach with where it’s more beneficial for shared services, but making sure Peterborough maintains strategic interests.”

Leader of the Conservatives in Peterborough Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, who is likely to be the next city council leader, tweeted: “It seems change is a coming at @CambsCC and I look forward to continuing all the good work with @LNethsingha as together through our shared services agreement we have saved millions for the taxpayer with better service outcomes for all and I hope this continues into the future.”

He later told the PT: “I’m disappointed I wasn’t consulted before the announcement was made as it could have serious and significant consequences for both councils.”