A reform of Devon County Council will see a big reduction in the number of top managers.
The county’s existing directorates will be replaced with two Strategic Directors looking after services relating to People and Place. They will manage individual heads of service who will be accountable for ensuring Devon’s responsibilities to local people are met.
The Strategic Director for People will have responsibility for services to individuals and families.
The Strategic Director for Place will have responsibility for services which affect the whole community such as highways and transport, environment and economy.
Chief Executive Phil Norrey will directly manage the council’s support services.
The new structure will be in place by September.
Devon County Council leader, John Hart said: “Devon County Council has already been highlighted by the Government for its initiatives in cutting councillors’ allowances, reducing red tape and protecting frontline services while cutting back office spending.
“I promised the people of Devon I would streamline the county council and make it more businesslike.
“We have already achieved major savings. This new structure will now see us well placed to respond effectively and efficiently to the major cultural shift in local government.
“In the future local councils will be commissioning many more services from a range of providers to suit specific local needs rather than doing it all themselves.
”And we will be more accountable to local people and local communities with our county councillors developing their community leadership role.”
Devon County Council is faced with a 27 per cent cut in its financial support from the Government.
Mr Hart has already pledged to protect the most vulnerable children in Devon and vowed not to close any of the county’s libraries.
He said children’s safeguarding and the children in care budgets would not face cash cuts. And none of the county’s 50 libraries would be closed although opening hours at some branches may be changed. He also pledged that Devon would retain a county farms estate to provide starter farms for people seeking a career in agriculture.
Mr Hart said: “We are still working on the detail of our budget which won’t be finalised until February. But I accept that these cuts are going to hurt.
“The Government has already highlighted Devon County Council for the work we have done in streamlining the authority, reducing costs and our Chief Executive’s pay.
“We are looking to get better value for money and ensure the county council is run in a more businesslike manner and I believe the new structure will make a major contribution.
“I visited communities across Devon in the autumn meeting local people on the Tough Choices roadshows and hearing their views and opinions. One issue was raised time and time again and that was cut management and bureaucracy and focus on services. The new structure will reduce our senior management by well over the 25 per cent I promised people I would achieve.
“It creates a flatter management structure that will enable us to be more responsive and to reduce costs.”
Devon’s Chief Executive Phil Norrey said: “The county council’s new role will require a greater focus on strategic commissioning responsibilities as opposed to directly managing service provision.
“A directorate-based approach works well for a large organisation with extensive in-house delivery arrangements.
“But it lacks the flexibility and coherence the council will need in future.”
- Civil liberties, theatre, culture | stories from Devon - April 9, 2021
- 5 stories from Devon this week - April 2, 2021
- Music, music, music | 5 things from Devon this week - March 26, 2021