Council shake-up down to budget cuts
5:00am Tuesday 4th March 2014 in News
SENIOR positions in Swindon Council are set to be re-shuffled as a response to a cut in available funds.
Several new positions will be created but this will not result in extra expense as some officers within the council will be leaving their current roles. The move will mean a new structure at the top of the council with the additional posts created.
Among the changes will be the introduction of a Head of Education Services, a Head of Delivery Assets as well as a new Head of Streetsmart, created from the now defunct Head of Public Protection and Street Smart.
Council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) says it is being done as a result of cuts in government grants, which mean the council is not able to operate in the same way it did a number of years ago.
He said: “It is really being done in response to a reduction in the budget we have available. We have to be in a position to be able to meet the demand for services.
“We are not increasing the number of senior officers so there will be no extra cost. Unfortunately we no longer have the money we did five or 10 years ago so we have to act accordingly.”
The decision to bring in the change was agreed at a special committee meeting last week.
The Head of Streetsmart will be responsible for a number of tasks, including keeping the streets tidy from litter. Coun Renard says this is a perfect area where members of the public can help keep the costs down.
“When litter is thrown on the floor it then has to be collected at the council’s expense,” he said.
“This is where we are asking for people to make a small contribution. If you look at recent stories about people fly-tipping this is exactly the kind of thing that adds to the expense of the council.
“We are not in a position to offer the same litter collection service we may have had several years ago.”
The position of Head of Educational Services has been created partly in response to a statement from the chief of Ofsted that local authorities still have a part to play in education.
Coun Renard said: “Over recent years councils have had a smaller and smaller role to play in education but recently Sir Michael Wilshaw said we all still had a part to play.
“We have created this role to show we still have the correct level of accountability when it comes to schools.”
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