Portsmouth City Council says it will reduce its top managers

CHANGES Portsmouth City Council offices in Guildhall Square.
CHANGES Portsmouth City Council offices in Guildhall Square.
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SENIOR management at Portsmouth City Council is to be restructured to prepare for future cuts.

The council’s chief executive David Williams, yesterday told its employment committee how predicted changes to funding and the departure next month of the council’s strategic director Roger Ching, will force changes.

The council will reduce from six strategic directors to four heads of service.

They will be Margaret Geary, director of adult services, Julian Wooster, director of children’s services, Kathy Wadsworth, director of regeneration, and Michael Lawther, the city’s solicitor – who will oversee performance.

Mr Williams warned that future cuts may still be necessary depending on government plans to further reduce council spending.

He said: ‘There will be revolutionary changes to come.

‘We are already looking at how services must change and in the next 18 months to two years we expect there will be further reorganisation.’

Tory councillor Jim Fleming said the cuts did not go far enough.

He called for revolutionary change rather than what he described as a ‘slow evolutionary process’.

But Mr Williams said: ‘We cannot afford to lose the expertise we have at the highest level, particularly because we have to make so many cuts and we need their help to see how best to do so.’

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We cannot force more senior managers out of their position at the moment because not only do they do vital jobs, but we also can’t afford to pay out even for voluntary redundancy.

‘Lay-offs do save the council money in the long term, but in the short term the payouts we would have to make would mean it was a long time before we saw those savings.’