Shake-up in management structure at Preston Council

Councillor Martyn Rawlinson
Councillor Martyn Rawlinson
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Town Hall bosses are facing a management shake-up as part of attempts to balance the books.

Cash-strapped Preston Council must make savings of £250,000 a year from its management structure by 2017/18.

Budget cuts were announced in February in a bid by the authority to save more than £3.6m over the next three financial years, and a meeting will be held next week to discuss a reshuffle of senior officers.

Director and assistant-director level positions will be affected, and a secret report will be discussed by the council’s employment committee on Tuesday, setting out the recommended approach to finding the savings.

Coun Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources, said a proposed new structure had been created for chief officers. He said: “The council has shrunk somewhat in the last few years, although workload-wise it doesn’t feel like it.

“While some services have gone like the bus station and the Guild Hall, we have expanded our social justice policy so there is plenty of work to do.

“But because the lower tier of staff has shrunk a bit, so must the upper tier.

“We can’t carry the same overheads as before when we haven’t got the same services.

“But we’ve got to be very careful with the restructure and make sure people aren’t under too much pressure.”

Details of positions affected have not been released to the public, but chief officer posts carry salaries from £44,508.00.

Coun Rawlinson said: “The last budget had more than £3.5m worth of savings to balance the books, mainly because the government has reduced our grant again and there might not be any respite in that, depending on what happens at the general election. So the organisation has to be leaner and fitter to cope with what’s happened and what’s possibly to come.

“It had to happen to match what’s happening below - there’s no question of that really. But we’ve still got to leave ourselves with enough management to be able to do the job. I think we have done that but it will be reviewed in the near future again to make sure it’s fit for purpose.”

He added: “We are hoping there will be no compulsory redundancies.”