The committee to consider an overview of the proposed restructuring of the Urban Environment Directorate and the creation of a Place and Sustainability Directorate. The report will seek agreement for some restructure decisions in this service to be made by delegated authority by the Chair of General Purposes Committee and the Director following consultation and consideration of the equality impact assessments.
The Chair welcomed Anne Lippitt, the newly appointed interim Director of Urban Environment to the meeting.
The Director provided an overview of the proposed restructuring of the Urban Environment directorate and further provided information on the plans for the new directorate to be named Place and Sustainability. The Committee had received reports on the constituent parts of the Urban Environment restructure, namely disestablishment of Neighbourhood Management and on Property services. This report detailed the future decisions required by General Purposes Committee on the restructure of the directorate and included those decisions already taken by delegated authority.
The Director referred to the directorate structure charts for phase 1 of the restructuring process and phase 2, to provide Members with a picture of which services will be located in the directorate and the number of senior officers managing these services.
One of the key services was the creation of the single frontline service, a report on this would be considered by the Committee on the 29th March. There were currently 56 vacancies across frontline services and 65 new posts being created as part of the new service with 107 posts for deletion.
A further report would follow to Committee on developing a shared economic service with Waltham Forest Council. Cabinet had endorsed the development of this shared service which would focus on priorities around employment, skills and attracting investment for business and enterprise. The Committee also learned that a Carbon Management service would be created which would comprise of the services in UE and Housing that need to work together to meet the key Council policy of managing the borough’s carbon footprint. A further detailed report would follow on this to Committee in May which would list the services and post holders coming together to form this service.
The significant restructures detailed above would involve changes to the establishment of 20 posts or more and were programmed to be considered by the Committee at future meetings. Further restructures, where there were less than 20 posts significantly affected, and where there no substantial issues raised in the consultation period, were proposed to be agreed by the Director in consultation with the Chair of the Committee.
Members sought clarification on the management of the Property services as this area was not listed as being covered by a senior post in phase 2 of the reorganisation of the service. Members learned that following the implementation of phase 1 of the reorganisation, as outlined by the Rethinking Haringey report, there would be a further review of functions entailing a reduction in the number of assistant director posts. This would mean that an assistant director post would be managing asset managements and direct services.
In relation to the restructure of the Culture Libraries and Learning understanding was sought on the reduction in library staff as there would be a need to staff this continuing service. It was noted that there were currently 3 vacant senior posts, two of which, the Assistant Director for Culture Libraries and Learning was covering following the Council wide recruitment freeze. The Committee noted that as these posts were not filled, and there was a current saving being made on the spend of the posts; this could still be determined as a further saving. There were no redundancy costs attached to the posts, still enabling a saving contribution to the budget. The Committee were assured that the post of assistant director for Community Hubs would be recruited to and there would be the appropriate number of staff for this area of work in phase 2.
The Committee learned that the responsibilities for Record Management and Archives had transferred to the Policy and Performance team and this unit of three staff would be considered as part of the service function review on Complaints Feedback and Information. This was an additional number of staff being added to the review but the knowledge contained within the team was important to the Council at this time for supporting information management, flexible working and the storage of information. In noting this information, the Chair advised the meeting that it was important for the Committee to have a firm understanding of the number of jobs contained in departments as if additional posts within services were sought it would provide the Committee with the context to making further decisions on staff changes. The Assistant Chief Executive explained that the employee profile, which was collated each year, would contain this information. The Assistant Chief Executive offered to present this to a future Committee, following the finalisation of the reorganisation of the Council. This would be an improved visual report which would provide information on the full time equivalents in services.
The Employee side addressed the meeting and spoke about the rulings concerning delegated authority on staff matters in the Constitution and sought clarification on how issues relating to a restructure are deemed substantive to enable a report to be returned to the Committee. Further clarification was sought on how the total number of posts affected by a restructure is arrived at and whether this calculation includes vacant posts and post that are subject to voluntary redundancy. In responding to the Employee side’s concerns the Chair explained that it was important for the Committee to consider some reports on staffing restructures, prior to consultation, to consider the direction of travel of the service and have the opportunity to provide input on its planned final configuration. In responding to the points raised on the calculation of posts, the Committee learned that there were a number of ways in which a post could be defined. In short, there was no uniform answer to encompass numbers of staff in restructures and there would be careful consideration given to each restructure with calculations made on the number of posts concerned.
The Chair advised the Committee that two additional dates, 18th April and 19th May, had been identified to hold special meetings of the General Purposes Committee and these had been distributed to Committee members for their consideration. The Committee agreed that the staffing report on Culture Libraries and Learning be considered at the Special General Purposes meeting on the 18th April 2011 instead of being agreed via delegated authority. The Committee further agreed that the restructure of Recreation Services be considered on the 19th May instead of being agreed by delegated authority.
iv That further reports following conclusion of staff consultation be considered on the following restructures: