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Staff baffled by county's restructuring

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Restructuring 18 months ago has left hundreds of Somerset CC staff unaware of which part of the council they work in, a survey has found.

Overall Somerset CC’s 2013 staff survey, published this week, found dissatisfaction among staff, including a lack of confidence in senior management decisions.

Returns showed an apparent 512% response rate from the customers and communities operation caused by staff mistakenly thinking that they worked there.

Similar confusion reigned with those who thought they worked in commissioning adults and health, which recorded a 266% response rate.

A council report on the survey said managers had been asked to ensure staff knew where they worked in Somerset’s new operating structure, which took effect 18 months ago.

“However, it would appear that staff did not receive this information and still struggle with identifying where in the structure they fit,” it said.

“Some very anomalous returns were seen where staff misidentified the area in which they worked.”

The survey secured a 47% response rate. The report said responses showed staff “do not perceive there to be a clear vision of the future of the council, lack confidence in senior management decisions, and do not perceive there are high levels of trust, integrity or honesty in communications with staff.”

It added: “While this is a similar position to the response in 2011, there are some areas of slight improvement but equally some areas of no improvement.”

A council spokesman said: “As a council we are committed to listening to our staff and will be learning from the results of the survey and sharing any lessons with our staff as soon as possible.”

Somerset was hit last winter by chief executive Sheila Wheeler first being absent from November onwards in unexplained circumstances, and then leaving by mutual consent.

She was last month succeeded by Pat Flaherty (pictured), who had been acting chief executive since Ms Wheeler’s departure.

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