Venue: Anglia Room, The Conference Suite, Elizabeth House, Dereham
Contact: Committee Services Tel: 01362 656870
Apologies (Agenda Item 1)
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mr P. Balaam, Mr W. Borrett, Mr S. Chapman-Allen, Mr R. Childerhouse, Mr M. Fanthorpe, Mr K. Gilbert, Mr R. Kemp, Mr D. Myers, Mr S. Rogers, Mr M. Spencer and Mr D. Williams JP.
Declaration of Interest (Agenda Item 2)
Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests pertinent to items on this agenda.
The Members’ Code of Conduct requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is personal or prejudicial.
There were no declarations of interest.
Chairman's Announcements (Agenda Item 3)
(Including the engagements of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman.)
The Chairman welcomed everyone and thanked all those who had been able to attend this Extraordinary Meeting of the Council.
Report of the Chief Executive.
The Chief Executive presented the report, explaining that it had become clear that South Norfolk District Council (SNDC) wanted to walk away from the shared services arrangements which had been under discussion. Had both sides been able to reach agreement there could have been a fairly seamless transition, resulting in real dividends from the sharing and alignment of some key posts and services.
He pointed out that while SNDC had not yet formally ratified their decision not to proceed with shared service arrangements, all the indications were that this would happen at their Council meeting on 21 June.
The implications of this withdrawal were that the interim arrangements adopted by Breckland Council on 13 May 2010 now needed to be urgently re-assessed, since all shared officer posts had been withdrawn and Breckland now had gaps across its senior management structure. Whilst it was hoped that some form of shared services arrangement might yet be forthcoming, the Council needed to keep running as a viable business in the meantime. Members therefore needed to consider how best to resolve matters as speedily and seamlessly as possible.
The Chief Executive reiterated that the interim structure had not been an attempt to pre-determine the outcomes of any potential Local Government Review or any shared services arrangements. Rather it had been proposed as a result of senior vacancies across both Councils and because an element of flexibility was seen as the best way to deal with the structural uncertainties.
He took Members through each of the recommendations, explaining how and why they had been suggested.
He stressed that, in his view, a shared services agenda was still of fundamental importance. It should remain very much in the Council’s vision for the future, not least when taking into account the likely impact of budget settlements over the coming years.
The highest cost assets for any Council were at senior management level and therefore best value for money could be achieved by sharing these, where practical, across services.
As the proposed shared services discussions had stalled, it was now essential for Breckland Council to act swiftly to ensure that it had a robust and stable senior management team in place. This was important not only from an internal perspective, but also to ensure that Breckland had the capability to ensure that any future negotiations (with South Norfolk or any other Local Authority) could be undertaken with the appropriate levels of knowledge and experience.
It was therefore proposed that there should be a new Chief Executive (as he would be leaving the Authority on 27 June 2010), as well as the existing Deputy Chief Executive and two, not three, Directors. This new management structure took out one of the previous Directorship posts (which had become vacant upon the departure of the Director of Governance and Finance).
If the proposed new management structure was to be agreed, it was recommended that the two vacant Director posts (one of which was currently being filled on an interim basis until August ... view the full minutes text for item 77.