Senior roles at Portsmouth City Council axed in bid to save £500,000

Julian Wooster is leaving his role as strategic director for children and education
Julian Wooster is leaving his role as strategic director for children and education
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PLANS to abolish senior management posts at Portsmouth City Council in a bid to save around £500,000 have been agreed.

The council’s employment committee has voted in favour of the four strategic director roles being axed.

There will now be only one layer of senior management under the chief executive responsible for being in charge of council services.

The strategic directors will have an opportunity to apply for the new roles – simply known as directors – or they can choose to take redundancy packages.

Julian Wooster, strategic director for children and education, is set to leave next month for a new role at Somerset County Council.

But the council is not saying publicly the futures of other strategic directors because of employment confidentiality laws.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the council, said: ‘Everyone in the organisation will now be responsible for a budget and it means we now have better value from public spending.’

Lib Dem councillor Darren Sanders said: ‘This was the sort of thing we envisaged. I have long thought we needed a flatter management structure.’

It was said the council would save extra money by merging the team responsible for managing contracts with companies with those who commission health care.

Another meeting will be held to determine if funding can be found for this.

The move comes despite Portsmouth South MP and ex-Fratton councillor Mike Hancock voicing concerns over the restructure.

In a letter to the committee, he said many of the officers in post ‘offer and generate an enormous amount of both goodwill and income into the city’ and questioned if ‘some of those issues would be achieved in the future’.

But Labour councillor John Ferrett criticised his points.

‘I cannot recall Mr Hancock having anything to say when the council were cutting the jobs of low-paid Sure-Start workers and care staff,’ he said.

A deputy chief executive position is also being created at the council.

Lib Dem members said it was important the role was responsible for leading the ‘strategic’ vision of the city in the absence of top directors or else the position would be a waste.