To enable the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee to recommend a change in the Terms and Conditions of the current Chief Executive post holder by reducing the hours of employment from 37 to 27.75 hours per week (a reduction of 25%). Approval for this change has to be formally agreed by Full Council.
The Committee had before it a joint report of the Deputy Chief Executive and the Assistant Director (Partnerships) (A.1) which enabled it to decide whether to recommend a change in the Terms and Conditions of the current Chief Executive post holder by reducing the hours of employment from 37 to 27.75 hours per week (a reduction of 25%). Approval for any such change would have to be formally agreed by Full Council.
Members were aware that the terms and conditions of employment for Chief Executives in local authorities were agreed nationally as part of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Local Authority Chief Executives. The terms and conditions of the current post of the Chief Executive at Tendring District Council had been in place since the appointment of the current post holder on 1st December 2010. In the intervening years the practices of the Council, in line with legislative changes and best practice, had developed to enable more flexible ways of working; this included enabling staff to request reductions in hours and varied work patterns. The terms and conditions of employment for the post of Chief Executive were agreed by Council following the advice and recommendations of the Human Resources and Council Tax Committee.
The report now before the Committee detailed a request to change one element of those terms; namely a reduction in the hours of employment by 25%. It was noted that this change was being proposed, at the request of the current post holder.
Members noted that it was not intended that this request would require cover by the Council’s senior management team or other resources, and by accepting the proposed change in hours, the Council would be agreeing to a Chief Executive operating on reduced hours. However, the post holder remained fully committed to Tendring District Council and the reduction of hours would be spread across the full working week ensuring that the Chief Executive continued to be available to the organisation from Monday to Friday. Details of specific practical and operational arrangements would be agreed with the Leader of the Council prior to implementation.
The Committee was made aware that the proposed reduction in hours would result in a salary saving of £43,899.70 per annum for the Council.
The Committee was informed that the Leader of the Council, Councillor Neil Stock OBE, had been consulted regarding this proposed change and he had advised that he fully supported the proposal and he had responded as follows:-
“When Ian Davidson was appointed as Tendring’s Chief Executive over a decade ago the Council was in a very sorry state; the Audit Commission had published a damning report that highlighted “issues of probity and perceptions of corruption” within the planning function; decision making was overly bureaucratic and intensely risk-averse, relations between members were overly antagonistic while dealings between members and officers were based on suspicion and mistrust. Fundamentally, the reputation of the Authority across the wider local government world was exceedingly poor.
Ian changed all that. Through his positivity, can-do spirit and tireless determination and enthusiasm Tendring District Council is now widely regarded as one of the best-run and the most ambitious local authorities in the country. We have all played our part in that incredible progress; all the members and officers who have been involved with the Council over the past ten years have done their bit to make it the outstanding local authority that we know today, but it is Ian who has led from the front, who has always demanded the best and who has been the inspiration for all our successes.
So, whilst an employer of the size and scale as Tendring District Council has a duty to consider any reasonable request that a member of staff may make to vary the terms and conditions of their employment, I am especially happy to support this request from our Chief Executive, as quite frankly I think it is the least we owe him. I would also like to acknowledge that as part of this request he has stated his continued commitment to the Council, and I would like simply to say thank you.”
Councillors Griffiths, Baker, Calver, M E Stephenson and Morrison asked questions regarding this matter which were responded to by either the Assistant Director (Partnerships) or the Organisational Development Manager.
With the permission of the Chairman, Councillor Calver made a statement strongly condemning the vitriolic online abuse that the Chief Executive had been the subject of since this matter had been placed in the public domain. The Chairman endorsed those sentiments.
Having considered the Chief Executive’s request and its implications for this Council:-
It was moved by Councillor Baker, seconded by Councillor Calver and:-
RESOLVED that this Committee -
(a) notes the request of the current Chief Executive to reduce his hours of employment from 37 hours to 27.75 hours;
(b) supports the request, acknowledging the reduction of the Chief Executive’s availability and that additional cover will not be provided for the reduction in working hours; and
(c) recommends to Full Council that:
(i) the terms and conditions of the employment of the current Chief Executive shall be amended to 27.75 hours per week with effect from 31st March 2022;
(ii) this change be reviewed after an initial period of six months operation and then at twelve month intervals following that; and
(iii) the post will remain at 37 hours on the Council’s establishment.