Chief of three to go ahead

The first shared chief executive post covering three councils is set to be created in May after councillors backed the cost sharing move last week.

Terry Huggins, currently shared chief executive of South Holland and Breckland DCs, looks set to take on the management of Great Yarmouth BC in two months’ time.

The innovative arrangement was first announced in September last year and councillors in all three councils confirmed last week they want to go ahead with the proposal.

At Great Yarmouth’s council meeting on Thursday night 19 voted in favour and 13 against. Final proposals are to be voted on at the end of May, following consultation with staff and after Great Yarmouth’s local elections have taken place.

Mr Huggins, below, is set to replace Great Yarmouth’s current chief executive Richard Packham after councillors decided they did not want to run a recruitment competition for the shared role.

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth said: “As part of the proposed shared management arrangements, a chief executive post solely for Great Yarmouth BC would become redundant. The current chief executive has indicated to the Council that, in those circumstances, he would be willing to accept voluntary redundancy.”

The merger aims to save about £333,000 per year – covering all three councils – in staff costs. No details have been revealed about the specific number of posts which would be lost, and the new structure will not be designed until after staff have been consulted, but a report to councillors estimated redundancy costs at £240,000.

Breckland leader William Nunn (Con) said he was “excited” about the move which he predicted would see councillors would become the “public face” of the councils while officers returned to a more strategic and supportive policy role.

“It will be pushing the parameters of local government management, rather than accepting the traditional model,” he said.

In a joint statement the leaders of the three councils said: “Breckland and South Holland are two modern forward-thinking councils who have made a success of working in partnership. Great Yarmouth will join as an equal partner.

“This initiative will create a strong and resilient management team and provide financial savings which will help each council continue to protect frontline services.

“This streamlined management team will reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of our councils and represents an exciting opportunity.”

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