Jobs of top Eden Council bosses at risk in review

Date: Monday 26th November 2018

SOME senior roles at Eden District Council could be axed as part of restructuring plans being put in place by chief executive Rose Rouse.

All 10 senior management positions, including that of deputy chief executive, are at risk of redundancy as part of Mrs Rouse’s review, which she has initiated since her appointment in July.

Councillors have received several emails about the process from both a Unison representative and Mrs Rouse in recent weeks. While senior staff have had one-to-one meetings, it has not been confirmed whether they have been given any formal letters or notices of potential risk of redundancy.

Councillors were informed of the risk to the council’s top-tier staff only after Unison criticised the approach the “fit for purpose” review had taken.

In an email sent on Monday, 29th October, the union stated that “all senior managers at Eden District Council were put at risk as a consequence of the fit for purpose review”.

It is believed 10 new but completely different roles are being created in a reorganised senior management framework. The changes, if introduced, would be the first among the council’s bosses since 2010.

A spokesman for the authority confirmed that the plans — which could potentially result in some officers leaving the authority altogether — are being put together with the aim of them being presented to the full council in January.

The results of the review will become part of the new council plan for 2019-2023. A council spokesman said: “The council’s chief executive has carried out a review of the council to ensure the organisation is fit for purpose to deliver on its ambitious plans and projects, including the new council plan for 2019-2023.

“The roles of the senior management team are being reviewed and some services are being realigned to focus on the key areas for delivery. This means the roles of the senior management team have been put at risk while the consultation continues and until a final structure is put to full council in January for approval.

“The people who are directly affected and all the other council staff are being encouraged to submit their comments on the proposed changes. The chief executive is welcoming feedback, which to date has been constructive and well considered.”

Unison has criticised the handling of the review and any risk of redundancies as “demeaning”. In the email, a union representative claimed that three-page documents given to those whose positions are at risk were then put on a billboard for all staff to see without any prior warning or clarification.

Unison confirmed it had had meetings with Mrs Rouse over the roles at risk but was unable to comment on any further discussions. Mrs Rouse has referred to Unison contacting councillors directly as “unacceptable”.