Decision details

Senior Management update and appointment of Interim Monitoring Officer

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To receive an update on the senior management recruitment and to consider appointment of an Interim Monitoring Officer


The Chief Executive presented the report which indicated that, as part of the new Senior Management Structure which was being implemented from 1 April 2019, and as approved by Council on 10 October 2018, it had been agreed that the role of Monitoring Officer would move to sit with the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist.  Transitional arrangements saw the Council’s current Monitoring Officer leave the Council on 31 May 2019.  Recruitment to the new role was ongoing and, in order to ensure that the Council had appropriate governance arrangements in place from 1 June 2019, it was requested that Members approve the appointment of an Interim Monitoring Officer pending the outcome of the recruitment process.


The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources would be taking up his new position from 1 April 2019 and it was proposed that David Sykes be appointed Interim Monitoring Officer, from 1 June 2019, unless or until the post of Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) was recruited to in the meantime.  It was further proposed that external support be sought on a temporary basis to assist with the requirements of this role and the Monitoring Officer functions, and to provide any necessary support to Council, Cabinet or committees, as required.  Subject to this appointment, the Interim would appoint a Deputy Monitoring Officer to act in his absence.


The report also drew attention to the fact that the senior management roles of Operational and Specialist Leads had progressed and that the successful candidates had been confirmed, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report.


In presenting the report, the Chief Executive was pleased to inform Members that the Programme was running in accordance with the timetable and within the agreed budget parameters.


He reminded Members that the Customer Connect Programme had been designed to improve the Council’s systems, providing more self-service options for its residents and to reduce processes to free up staff to assist the Council’s most vulnerable communities.


The Chief Executive took the opportunity to congratulate all the successful internal appointees to the Leadership Team; this had been an excellent demonstration of the existing talent within the Council.


The Chief Executive provided further details with regard to the recruitment for the role of Legal, Governance and Democracy (Monitoring Officer), explaining that the position had been advertised externally, having closed in the previous week.  Shortlisting was taking place and interviews would be held mid-April.  Interim measures had also been agreed to support the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources between the existing officers leaving and the new lead commencing.  Interviews for an experienced interim Lead Officer, to include the expertise of the Monitoring Officer function, would be taking place on 3 April 2019.  Candidates had already confirmed their availability to commence work, ensuring continuous cover.


The Chief Executive reported that, this week, the interview process for the next two tiers in the operating model, namely Specialist and Case Management, had been finalised.  The new Leads were currently finalising who will be successful in the various posts and would be in a position to confirm appointments within the coming weeks.  He thanked all those who had been involved in the first phase of recruitment.


The Chief Executive explained that the Voluntary Redundancy process had been completed, with 20 successful applications, and the costs all contained within the agreed budget.  The leaving dates of those staff have been agreed on an individual basis to ensure a successful transition and continuation of business.  There was, thus far, have one possible compulsory redundancy.  The Customer Connect Business Case had estimated a reduction in employee numbers of 43.  Vacancies continued to be managed, with natural turnover and use of fixed term contracts mitigating against the need for compulsory redundancies.  It was expected, through vacancy management and the management of temporary posts, in addition to the approved voluntary redundancies, that a significant contribution would be made in meeting the forecast reduction.


The planning and implementation of Phase 2 of the Programme was now underway.  In April, there would be several staff roadshows which were designed to provide employees with details of top level information to prepare them for Phase 2 consultation, which was due to commence on 7 May 2019.  There were also further workshops planned for Members after the elections in May.


The Customer Connect Programme had been focusing on the future organisation, job role design, employee change, resilience and recruitment which would continue throughout Phase 2.  Focus was now being placed on planning transition and moving the organisation and activities to the new operating model.  This work would identify and deliver the organisational development requirements, ensuring the Council had the necessary skills and knowledge required for the transition and operation in the new model and would fully involve the support and engagement of the Leadership Team as they now embarked on their future journey in the new operating model.  The Chief Executive wished to place on record his thanks to all those staff, and councillors, who had led and contributed to a well-managed programme.


The Chief Executive took the opportunity to say a few words about those staff members who had taken the personal decision to leave the organisation and to move to pastures new, wishing them all a happy and healthy future.  In particular, he paid personal thanks to the Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer), Debbie Storr, and the Assistant Director Resources (Section 151 Officer), Shelagh McGregor.  They had been a key part of the organisation’s success over the past years and their dedication, professionalism and knowledge had been put to good use during that time.  Indeed, they were both ensuring that they left the Council in good hands through an orderly exit.  He felt sure that all of their colleagues would join him in showing their gratitude for their public service and wishing them well in their future endeavours.


Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, was impressed with the thorough process that had been followed and at the depth of talent revealed.  He added his thanks to Debbie Storr for her work; Debbie was the first officer that newly-elected Members met and all were impressed with the way in which she managed elections.  Councillor Archibald also commended Shelagh McGregor’s outstanding work and advice on finance.  Both Debbie and Shelagh were outstanding professionals, dedicated, reliable and enthusiastic and Councillor Archibald thanked them for their service.


Councillor Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader and Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder, moved the recommendations contained within the report, also paying tribute to those Members and officers involved for their significant contribution to Programme.  He added thanks to the Solicitor to the Council for her work.  On behalf of Members, Councillor Brook thanked those who had taken the opportunity to apply for new roles.  He referred to the changes being implemented through the Customer Connect Programme, a process which had not been engaged in lightly, and pointed out that there were still major changes to come.  He looked forward to the end of the process and, in the meantime, thanked all staff for their engagement.


Councillor Ben Berry seconded the motion and it was, unanimously




(1)        the appointments to the senior management roles of Operational and Lead Specialists, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, be noted; and


(2)        David Sykes by appointed as Interim Monitoring Officer, with effect from 1 June 2019, pending recruitment to the position of Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer).

Report author: Debbie Storr

Publication date: 10/04/2019

Date of decision: 28/03/2019

Decided at meeting: 28/03/2019 - Council

Accompanying Documents: