Sharing top jobs between two south Warwickshire councils could bring with it an improved service as well as savings, according to one councillor.
That was the message from Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for transformation, Cllr Richard Hales (Con, Kenilworth Abbey and Abbey), as fellow councillors voted through a series of job-shares at the employment committee on June 15.
If their counterparts at Stratford District Council support the plans it will mean a number of heads of department and the deputy chief executive will work across the two authorities from the beginning of August.
Warwick District Council’s chief executive Chris Elliot told the meeting: “We’ve already achieved over £100,000 worth of savings. If we weren’t making considerable savings then clearly I couldn’t recommend it to you because it would be defeating the object.
“We might get more [savings] earlier but less than we anticipated later on. Getting more of the savings earlier is actually kind of what we need.”
He explained that it was hoped there would be minimal redundancies when posts were merged.
Mr Elliot added: “This set of proposals does not have any redundancy proposals. What we have tried to do is use the vacancies that both authorities have so that we can maximise those without hurting existing members of staff.
“We use vacancy control effectively, we redeploy staff so that if their existing post is taken out of the structure then they are the priority for going into other posts. It is not foolproof in that I cannot say categorically that there will never be any redundancies.”
Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the proposed job shares.
Cllr Hales said: “Transformation comes under my portfolio so I’ve been listening interestingly. I think there are things that we can learn from other councils and as we come out of the pandemic I think there will be options there that maybe we’ve not considered before.
“I think the residents are quite rightly looking for savings but I think there are areas where we can look for an improved service. I wouldn’t be going through this process if I just thought we were stripping money out of the system. I think there are other ways we can do it and our residents deserve the best service we can provide. There are improvements we can probably do as we go through this.”
And council leader Cllr Andrew Day (Con, Bishop’s Tachbrook) added: “We need to recognise that we are building a new council so as much as it is a temptation to keep looking over our shoulder it needs to be a council that’s fit for the 21st Century. It has to learn from Covid and it has to be more agile.”