Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 1st December 2011
Title of Item/Report
The amalgamation of Heads of Service Posts and arrangements for Appointment
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to the proposed amalgamation of the posts of Head of Communications and Head of Human Resources, along with the proposed arrangements for appointment and recruitment.

It was noted that the Council's Head of Communications had resigned from her post in September 2011 and since that time, interim arrangements had been put in place so that full consideration could be given to whether the post should be filled on a like for like basis. In addition, the Council's Head of Human Resources had also now indicated her wish to retire next year.

The Council's current policy on recruitment was that only essential vacancies should be filled and opportunities should be taken to reduce the establishment wherever possible through natural wastage. As a result of this policy, 672 vacancies had arisen between December 2010 and October 2011, of which only 122 had been filled, a net loss of 550 posts.

A review of the duties and responsibilities of these two particular posts indicated that there were some synergies, particularly around internal communications, employee engagement and organisational development, as well as some minor areas of duplication. Amalgamating the two posts would therefore enable some efficiencies to be made as well as generating a saving of 100,800 per annum including on costs, subject to the grade of the new post being unchanged. Amalgamating these job roles therefore provided an opportunity of retaining the essential duties and responsibilities of the two posts whilst generating significant savings.

The Council's Employment Procedure Rules require Cabinet to consider and refer to full Council recommendations for approval in respect of the arrangements for the appointment of Heads of Service. The current recruitment arrangements provided that all posts should be filled internally wherever possible both to provide redeployment opportunities for staff at risk of redundancy but also to potentially generate further savings. It was therefore recommended that the post be advertised internally only in the first instance but if a successful appointment could not be made, then a further report be brought back to Cabinet for consideration.

In line with the normal arrangements for Chief Officer and Assistant Chief Officers appointments, it was proposed that Cabinet recommend to Council that a Panel for the appointment of the Head of Human Resources and Communications be established in accordance with political balance requirements comprising the Leader or Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance and the Cabinet Member for Access and Communities.

RECOMMENDED to Council that:-

1.The posts of Head of Communications and Head of Human Resources be amalgamated to form a joint Head of Service post.

2.The grade of the post be established through the Councils job evaluation process.

3.The proposed Appointment Panel arrangements be approved.
Reasons for the Decision
To seek Members views on the amalgamation of the posts of Head of Communications and Head of Human Resources, and if agreed, to approve the establishment of an Appointments Panel for the purposes of completing the recruitment process to the new post.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Not Applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Not Applicable

Date of Publication: 06 December 2011

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