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EXECUTIVE DEMANDS CULL OF SENIOR POSTS

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McCabe: Officers have 'cosy' jobs...
McCabe: Officers have 'cosy' jobs

By Kerry Lorimer

The number of chief executives and senior managers in Scotland is to be cut in the biggest shake-up of local government in a decade.

Tom McCabe, minister for finance and public service reform, told councils he saw no reason for each of Scotland's 32 councils to have its own chief executive and senior management team. Unless councils reformed their management structures, the executive would legislate to force them to do so, he said.

'I'm not here to cut 32 provosts but I do want to reduce the number of finance directors and chief executives, and the pyramids that sit beneath them,' he said.

'We are not going to sit back and ignore people [who want to maintain] their existing cosy arrangements. If dialogue does not produce results, we will look at a different way.'

Mr McCabe has already alluded to cutting the number of senior managers in Scotland (LGC, 18 March). That was interpreted as a recognition that although full-scale reorganisation has been ruled out for the near future, mergers between some councils could be on the cards.

The concept of councils being run by managers located in neighbouring authorities was greeted with scepticism.

Douglas Sinclair, chief executive of Fife Council and chair of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers Scotland, described the notion as 'unworkable'.

'The relationship between the leader and chief executive is arguably the most important in the organisation,' he said. 'If the councils were of different political persuasions, that would make for an uncomfortable relationship.'

He added that other chief executives had been 'sanguine' about Mr McCabe's remarks.

kerry.lorimer@emap.com

Plans for officer cull - reactions

'Councils would be rudderless - you absolutely could

not do it. But

people have got enough to get on with providing services to worry about it.'

Fiona Lees, chief executive, East Ayrshire Council

'The idea needs refinement. Working with two or more councils would be challenging, given the aspirations of members and

the communities could be very different.'

Alex Linkston, chief executive, West Lothian Council

'I feel like part of an endangered species. We welcome the challenge put to us and will make every effort to justify our existence.'

Alasdair Herbert, assistant chief executive, North Ayrshire Council

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