The slimming down of Sefton Bureaucracy must continue, says Southport Lib Dem Councillor Tony Dawson. Cllr Dawson has served on the Council’s Employment Procedures Committee which has been checking the detail of proposed major management savings within the Council.
Last night, Sefton Council voted to allow Chief Exec Margaret Carney to replace six high-paid Service Director posts with two ‘floating’ assistants to help her control 11 ‘heads of service’, a reduction from the previous 18. The savings to the Council are anticipated as being a minimum of £1.3 million per year and the Lib Dems, who have pressed for these changes over some time, think that there are even greater savings to be made which can help to save valuable council services.
“We believe that the Council may be able to make around £2 million in savings eventually through tackling bureaucracy. It is a shame that the Labour Group did not instruct the Chief Executive to set about this process earlier – this might have saved our libraries and stopped the recent cuts at the Botanic Gardens and helped us hold on to other important services.”
“The Council has trusted the Chief Executive by providing her with two very senior staff to replace six.  This will take the Council through a time of massive management changes. But I do not see these positions as lasting beyond a few years. The Council will have to find ways of being more efficient with its management on a permanent basis if we are to preserve valuable services.”
“We should be thankful for small mercies. Last time a Sefton Chief Exec proposed to make only £400,000 savings through slimming down management the Labour and Tory councillors decided to get rid of him and to shoe-in their own man. They broke the law trying to do this, leading to considerable extra costs for the Council. This time, with over £1.3 million savings being proposed out of a smaller budget, there has not been a murmur. I trust that there has been a reality check within the Labour Group and the era of posturing is now past.”
It was Councillor Dawson who, as a member of the public, obtained the first professional advice showing that what the Council was doing with its previous Chief Executive Graham Heywood was not lawful. This was confirmed by a barrister, commissioned by Lib Dem councillor Tony Robertson, and a special council meeting had to be called to overturn the unlawful decisions.

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