Councillors agree to shared management

PLANS to save taxpayers millions of pounds by creating a single top management team for Cherwell District Council and South Northants Council were approved at meetings on Wednesday night.

The move had already been approved by the executive groups of both councils, but still needed the go-ahead from the rest of the council.

The councils say the shared management team will help protect front-line services in the face of a challenging financial climate.

Leader of Cherwell District Council (CDC), Councillor Barry Wood, said: “We are confident that the decision to forge ahead with plans to form a shared management team is the correct one and one that will enable us to begin to address the financial situation we currently face.

“At the same time we also want to preserve as many of the valued services as possible that our residents and businesses have come to rely on.”

South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) leader, Councillor Mary Clarke, added: “Councils are driven by the need to provide local services at an acceptable level and cost to local communities.

“We are committed to providing excellent services to our residents and, during an era of severe budget constraints, we believe that this approach is the right way to reduce our costs while continuing to focus on service delivery.”

Cherwell’s 50 elected members and South Northamptonshire’s 42 elected members will continue to represent their respective wards and districts.

Both councils say they will continue to develop policies independently, and make their own decisions on priorities for services and funding.

A joint working group made up of representatives from both councils had evaluated senior management posts over the last five months.

Roles under scrutiny included the chief executives, directors, heads of services, and other senior staff who report to a chief executive or director.

A number of other district councils around the country have already merged top management teams or are considering such a move.

The proposed new SNC-CDC structure consists of one chief executive, three directors, eight heads of service, and three senior managers, with all fifteen posts shared by both councils.

The management merger could save CDC up to £3.4million and SNC £1.8 million over five years.

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