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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 26/04/2006

Special Executive


(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
*Miss G B W Ferguson (Chairman)*Mr C H Mansell
*Mrs C E Savage (Vice-Chairman)*Mr K T Reed
*Mr S D Edge*Mr J E Robini
*Mr B Grainger-Jones*Mr V K Scrivens
*Mr P Haveron
* Present
Mr R J Gates, Mr D C Inman, Mrs D M James and Mr V Duckett were also in attendance

291. MINUTES (Agenda Item 1)


There were no interests raised by members under this heading, but the Director of Housing, Director of Environment and Leisure and Director of Planning and Development disclosed interests in the whole of the exempt section of the report and withdrew before it was discussed. The Head of Committee and Member Services disclosed an interest in the exempt part of the report relating to elections and withdrew from the meeting when this was discussed.

[Wards Affected: N/A]

[During consideration of this item, it was
293.1 The Executive has received a report setting out progress that has been made in reviewing the Waverley Borough Council Officer Structure. The report seeks approval to recommendations to implement key interim elements of the restructuring.

293.2 There is a number of factors instigating the interim structure referred to in this report. It is a commitment of the Council’s administration to reduce the expenditure on administration/management. To date, reductions of 394,000 in staffing costs have been made, or costs have been realigned within the organisation to meet current Council priorities. The Council’s top management structure (Top 3/4 tiers) has, to date, remained intact.

293.3 The savings have been made from reductions in posts at middle and lower levels, with impact upon direct services delivery, albeit in a manageable way. The restructuring of the top tiers will have a less direct impact on services delivered to the public but may have a significant impact on how effective strategic management may be to secure the Council’s key aims and objectives, in line with the corporate vision.

293.4 In February 2004, the Council’s administration expressed the wish to review the cost of the Borough Council’s senior management. However the Executive agreed, at its meeting in April 2005, that the proposed management review be postponed until the outcome of the tenant’s ballot on Housing Stock Transfer became known. The Chief Executive and the Head of Personnel and Central Services were charged with bringing forward structure proposals for Waverley to the first meeting of the Executive after the outcome of the tenant’s ballot. In anticipation of a “yes” vote, those officers carried out work to be in a position to report as required.

293.5 In December 2005, the Housing Stock Transfer Ballot resulted in a vote against transferring the housing stock to a registered social landlord. By the report to the Executive meeting on 10th January 2006, members were informed of the consequential issues for the Council’s services and finances. As that report said, the “no” vote has presented new challenges. As such, the need to review structures to meet those challenges and to achieve efficiency savings, particularly at senior level, in the light of the reductions that have already been made at other levels of the organisation, was acknowledged.

293.6 The current management structure of a Chief Executive with four Service Directors may reasonably be described as traditional. The research carried out by the Chief Executive and the Head of Personnel and Central Services has identified that many local authorities had restructured to a “leaner” top management structure. A particularly close look was taken of Basingstoke and Deane and Reigate and Banstead Borough Councils when members of the Executive and members of the opposition groups joined senior officers in visiting those Boroughs.

293.7 It is recognised that the Council’s immediate concern is to reduce management costs as a consequence of budget pressures, both General Fund, and Housing Revenue Account, arising from the “no” vote. Details are set out in the (Exempt) Annexe.

293.8 Concurrent with the work in connection with the wider restructuring of Waverley following the Housing Ballot, there was a need for the Director of Housing to undertake a fundamental review of the management of his Directorate as the financial resources available to provide new homes and to refurbish existing stock will be significantly reduced from 2006/7, and more so from 2007/8 onwards.
293.9 The Director of Housing has been carrying out this work in consultation with the Chief Executive, but separate from the work being progressed on the overall review of the Waverley structure. However, there is a need to pull the two pieces of work together at a top management level.

293.10 There is, undoubtedly, the need to create a climate of certainty for all Waverley staff around this, what has become of necessity, protracted progress on the restructuring. It is, therefore, recommended that the proposals on the restructuring of the Housing Department, to link in with the progress of the wider restructuring, should be brought to the Council meeting scheduled for 18th July 2006, for adoption.

293.11 Consultation to date has taken place with staffside and with individuals directly affected. The administration has also received advice from South East Employers. The Solicitor to the Council has referred this report and its recommendations for the consideration of Counsel. The District Auditor will be concerned to ensure that, in considering the matter, the Council has undertaken a considered review of the Council’s present and future needs for the structure of its top management. The District Auditor is being consulted.

293.12 The Leader and Deputy Leader of the main opposition group, together with the Shadow Portfolio Holder for Human Resources, have received an informal briefing from the Chief Executive and the Head of Personnel and Central Services, as have the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Independent Group.

293.13 Detailed proposals are set out in the (Exempt) Annexe. The Executive


Background Papers (CEx)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
Part II – Matters Reported in Detail for the Information of the Council

Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

There were no matters falling within these categories.
The meeting commenced at 6.30 p.m. and concluded at 8.12 p.m.