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Chief-less council gets thumbs up

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There is “nothing fundamentally wrong” with a council not having a chief executive, according to independent consultants.

A report by Tribal found that deleting the chief executive post was legal, provided value for money and was sustainable.

Commissioned by Rugby BC after opposition councillors complained about the Conservative-led council’s decision to delete the post, the report found there was “nothing fundamentally wrong with the decision made by Rugby BC to delete the post of its chief executive”.

However, Labour group leader James Shera described the report as “wholly inadequate” and said it did not meet the demand for an independent and cross-party review of the council’s governance arrangements.

Although consultants from Tribal found Rugby’s arrangement legal, they recommended the council introduce performance management and appraisals of the two executive directors who have taken over the chief executive’s responsibilities.

They also said the current row over the arrangement might have been avoided if stakeholders had understood that only the executive directors, and not the leader, would take on chief executive responsibilities.

The consultants themselves found “no evidence” that the leader was involved, or intended to be involved, with staffing matters or day-to-day management of the council.

However, the report has failed to appease opposition councillors.

Cllr Shera said: “This so-called independent report isn’t at all. It’s just been written by a company of external consultants who were paid almost £5000 – that’s £160 a page - to prove nothing much at all.”

He criticised the report’s authors for failing to speak to opposition members and limiting their interviews to four senior officers and the leader.

“In the current climate of massive cuts across the public sector, spending so much money on a report such as this is a waste of taxpayers’ money,” he said.

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