Major staff restructure planned at Horsham District Council delivering £200,000 savings

JPCT 17-08-12 S12330140X Horsham, Horsham District Council, office building, HDC -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 17-08-12 S12330140X Horsham, Horsham District Council, office building, HDC -photo by Steve Cobb

A major staff restructure at Horsham District Council would remove an entire tier of management and save some £200,000 each year, it was revealed this week.

A consultation on the proposals is now underway with a report back to full council expected on January 22.

The council plans to remove all eight heads of service roles - the current management structure which sits between function heads and the two directors - but strengthen specialist positions.

It will also reinstate a third director who will be a highly qualified planner to overcome criticism of the council’s planning function.

HDC only narrowly avoided having its planning department placed under special measures by the Government earlier this year because of the time it took to determine major applications.

The additional director would also take responsibility for economic development - seen as even more important with the announcement of the proposed closure of Novartis - as well as the council’s financially important property portfolio.

In all, 28 posts will be removed and replaced by 25 - but the cost savings arise because eight of the 28 are at a senior level.

The council wants to ensure that its organisation going forward is ‘fit for purpose’ as well as maximising efficiencies and cost savings.

Fundamental to the review is to ensure it has more specialist roles - not least in legal and ICT - so that it can offer improved customer service as its moves towards becoming a commissioning-based council.

As the changes are still subject to consultation and some staff may move between posts, the one-off redundancy costs have yet to be evaluated but chief executive Tom Crowley said he anticipated a payback of between two to two-and-a-half years.

Mr Crowley gave an update to the council’s Scrutiny and Overview Committee on Monday.