Proposals to further share best practice, resources and improve financial efficiency for the taxpayer across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been agreed by both councils.
Plans focused on reorganising and extending roles for the mutual benefit of both councils rather than a formal restructuring, will see a new joint Executive Director role joining the top management team alongside Gillian Beasley, who has successfully held the post of joint Chief Executive of both councils since 2015.
Two other existing Cambridgeshire County Council director’s roles are being extended to cover Peterborough City Council.
The new Executive Director role is being created to lead Place & Economy work across both councils, replacing a senior role in each council. Recruitment for the new Joint Executive Director role is set to begin shortly.
The existing Cambridgeshire County Council roles of Directors of Business Improvement & Development and Corporate & Customer Services have been extended to cover both authorities. Amanda Askham and Sue Grace who hold these respective roles in Cambridgeshire were confirmed in the new joint roles following interviews and endorsement by Peterborough City Council’s employment committee Members before Christmas.
Immediate changes at the top are set to deliver efficiency savings of £90k across both councils, - as well as delivering benefits of more streamlined working, particularly across areas where the council already works closely with the same partners such as private sector highways partner Skanska, or major IT and digital providers.
This latest move in an ongoing series of collaborations means Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have since 2015 reduced the number of officers they pay more than £100k down from nine to two. This allows both councils to focus more finances on the frontline, delivering services.
In additional two new posts - a joint Service Director- Highways & Transport, and joint Service Director - Growth & Economy are also being created to cover both authorities – whose costs will be met by further joint working resulting in savings within the structure.
Cllr John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council said: “While our management team is shared, we are confident that this will not damage or diminish the sovereignty of either council. We retain our separate identities, and while we share an ambition to improve overall outcomes for our area and our residents, as politicians we remain focussed on the particular issues each of us face.”
Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “This proposal sees us building on the success we have already achieved with Gillian Beasley as our joint Chief Executive driving forward an ambitious plan to share expertise, efficiency and effective practices. We know how to do this sort of join up well, and driving down costs and reducing duplication is of enormous benefit for our residents and the partner agencies we work with.”
Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive of both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: "Our experience in sharing some of our most senior roles has demonstrated how we can build capacity and resilience in both organisations. This innovative arrangement increases our recruiting power, as we strive to appoint the brightest and the best staff in a very competitive market, and offer them an exciting future career in local government.”