The Labour Group at Lancashire County Council are refusing to take part in the controversial appointment of a new Chief Executive of the council by the Conservative administration. (Interview will take place 11th September 2018.)
The £200,000 a year post has only received one applicant, which just happens to be the interim Chief Executive. Despite warnings from the Labour Group, Local Government Association and consultants hired by the council that the new management governance structure was poor and would result in a very limited applicant field.
The Chief Executive post became vacant following the restructuring of the senior management team by the Conservative. The senior management proposals were concocted following a series of Conservative Proposals which had to be withdrawn twice due to them being illegal. The final version of the restructuring was put before Cabinet (14/09/17) and rushed through using urgent powers in standing order 35, preventing any true scrutiny by council.
Within the documents produced for Cabinet at the time it identified a clear risk under “Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998” (Whistle Blower protection) that the council could be subject to financial claims of millions of pounds due to the “Constructive Dismissal” of the previous management team. It is understood that this risk is still open for Lancashire Council Tax Payer to foot the bill.
Cllr Azhar Ali, Leader of the Labour Group said “The Conservative Administration has dug themselves into a very deep hole to bury their shifty and shabby shenanigans. This new structure was supposed to save money but this has resulted in serious problems in recruiting senior managers and the biggest increase in council tax for years. While local peoples services continue to be cut and costs to the most vulnerable increased.”
“As there is only one person on the short list its clear that they will get the job. We do not blame the current interim Chief Executive for this as they are being handed this position on a plate. The fact that the Local Government Association along with the Consultants appointed to head hunt the best have both stated the current Chief Executive role coupled with the Section 151 officer position leads to ‘bad governance’ and despite asking Cllr Driver to pause the process, he is hell bent on his reckless policies.”
“We had a vote of no confidence in the current Leader who was backed wholeheartedly by everyone of his Conservative Councillors. When you consider that this is a very well paid position, with extras on top, in the 3rd largest authority in the country. The fact only ‘one’ applicant has come forward and that happens to be the interim Chief Executive speaks volumes as to the chaotic reputation of the council across the top professionals in the country.”
County Councillor John Fillis(Deputy Leader) said, “The process should be stopped now and the advice from the LGA and recruitment consultants to split the Chief Executive role from the section 151 officer role be accepted in order to stop any further ‘bad governance’ across the authority. It’s time for the Secretary Of State James Brokenshire to intervene to ‘stop the rot’ at the heart of this shambolic Conservative Administration.”