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NEW COUNCIL STRUCTURE MARKS A REBIRTH FOR RHONDDA CYNON TAFF

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At a special meeting of the council on Wednesday, 24 November, elected members will be asked to consider recommenda...
At a special meeting of the council on Wednesday, 24 November, elected members will be asked to consider recommendations for a radical restructuring of the council's current departmental structure.

The sweeping changes will reduce the number of senior directors from 12 to 4. This will modernise and improve the way the council plans and delivers local services, as well as reduce costs and overheads.

The present structure, based on 12 departments, will be dismantled and replaced with a fresh approach which brings together related services under four new, integrated 'groups'. Each of these will be led by a new group director, whose main role will be to create and deliver major corporate policies and strategies for the whole authority.

Internal applicants for these key positions will be required to compete alongside other candidates, as part of a national recruitment campaign to ensure the appointment of senior staff of the highest calibre. The salary rewards for these challenging jobs will be competitive, but those appointed will have regular evaluation of their personal performance.

Starting with a dynamic new senior management framework, to be in place by next Easter, the whole process will move rapidly to review all council services over the next 18 months.

The new structure provides for better management and improved ways of working at all levels. Initial savings of£300,000 a year in management costs are expected, with even greater efficiency savings later, as modern working methods are put in place in all service areas.

The main aim though is to visibly improve the quality of services provided for local people ~ and to support the Council's new role of Community Leadership, particularly in improving the local economy under Objective 1 funding.

The council's chief executive, Kim Ryley said: 'The new council's decision to bring in a modern cabinet-style system has thrown into sharp relief the obsolete nature of the traditional structure still in place for our staff.'

'Any delay in undertaking this radical restructuring of the council's functions undermines our ability to bring about the much needed improvements that local people want.'

'The new emphasis on corporate planning, on measurement of performance, and on working together to deliver integrated services will take a little time to put in place fully - but we intend to become the most modern council in Wales, and people will see visible improvements quickly, particularly in the better management of our budgets and the development of our staff, who are our key resource.'

The council's leader, Pauline Jarman, described the proposals as 'visionary' and as 'a complete, carefully thought out solution to the problems we inherited when the new Council was elected'.

Councilor Jarman went on to say that: 'This new structure will be a fresh start for the council. It marks the first of a wave of major improvements the new Plaid Cymru administration will put in place over the next few years ~ and shows our willingness to break from the out of date thinking of the past.'

'Local people are desperate for this kind of change, and deserve the best possible services from their council. We are committed to removing all the obstacles that might slow us down or deflect us from fulfilling the promises we made to those who elected us.'

'We have many talented, hard working people in the council, and the new structure will ensure that they develop their skills and have more satisfying and secure jobs as a result. At the same time, the introduction of 'fresh blood' at senior levels has the added benefit of bringing in new ideas and fresh leadership styles, as well as increasing the rate of change within the council.'

'This approach is bolder and more radical than anything looked at by the previous Labour-controlled council. It will be a rebirth for Rhondda Cynon Taff, after the unhappy false start of the past four years. Our staff and the public we serve can only gain by bringing in these much needed changes without delay - and councillors will be pushing to complete the process as quickly and smoothly as possible.'

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