Newham LBC’s elected mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (Lab) is to tear up an 18 months-old management structure put in place by her predecessor.
Ms Fiaz (pictured) became mayor last year when Sir Robin Wales was deselected as Labour candidate after 16 years in office.
He is now senior adviser on local government, skills and housing at the Conservative-dominated think tank Policy Exchange.
In a cabinet paper this week, Ms Fiaz set out a new structure of seven directorates under incoming chief executive Althea Loderick. The heads of the seven directorates will all be expected to be capable of deputising for Ms Loderick and in addition to their normal work will each take responsibility for a geographical area of the borough.
Her report said the October 2017 structure “became obsolete following the May 2018 election, the departure of a number of chief officers and the fundamental change of political leadership, policy direction and vision for the council”, despite both incumbents being Labour.
So many senior officers had left that the corporate management team had only one permanent member of staff in post and three permanent staff were in ‘acting up’ positions. There were also four externally appointed interims and one vacancy.
Ms Fiaz’s report said: “One of the significant risks the council bears is the overwhelming number of interim and acting up arrangements that are in operation at all levels of the council but most specifically in the senior leadership of the council.”
She said Sir Robin’s choice of structure had been “designed around the separation of core commissioning functions from delivery, to be delivered through externalised business units and a drive to become more commercially focused”.
This management structure was “significantly criticised in the staff workshops as delivering siloed working, directors and staff did not work coherently, and “it often felt as if they were working against each other and that successful delivery of services was sometimes done despite the organisation”.
The seven new directorates are: brighter futures; inclusive economy and housing; children and young people’s; adults and health; environment and sustainable transport; resources; people, policy and performance.