COUNCILLORS have agreed to a reorganisation of the top roles at the county council that is expected to cost around £400,000 a year.

Currently, the county council operates with a chief executive and six directors – each responsible for a major area of the council’s work.

But as part of the plan – agreed by the council’s employment committee on Wednesday, September 22) – the directors would become ‘executive directors’.

And the current director of environment and infrastructure role would be split in two – creating an ‘executive director of environment and transport’ and an ‘executive director of sustainable growth’.

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In addition, as part of the changes, there would be an additional  ‘director of sustainability’ and a ‘director of finance’ that would be reprofiled from an existing assistant director.

The existing assistant director of human resources would become ‘director’. And there would be a new ‘head of diversity and inclusion’.

Deputy chief executive responsibilities would be added to one of the executive director roles.

At the meeting, councillors were told that over the past 11 years there had been a significant reduction in the number of senior officers at the council – with over a third fewer senior roles than in 2010.

And it was said that there had been a growth in the volume and complexity of the work they were dealing with.

Partnership working with the NHS and others – through the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System and the Hertfordshire Growth Board – were highlighted.

And councillors also considered the demands of the sustainability agenda, the drive for 100,000 more homes in the county, decarbonisation and reforms to health and social care.

At the meeting, council leader Cllr Richard Roberts pointed to the increasingly complex agenda facing the county council.

And he suggested it had felt like chief executive Owen Mapley was operating ‘with one hand tied behind his back’.

The changes were unanimously agreed by the committee – which includes Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst and Labour group leader Cllr Judi Billing.

According to the report to the committee, the final annual costs associated with the changes will depend on the evaluation and salaries offered.

But the report says they would be expected to be in the region of £400,000.

The new roles and the changes to existing roles will be subject to ‘a job evaluation process’. And that evaluation, says the report, will be aligned to the ongoing ‘Future Workforce’ review.

As part of Future Workforce, the county council is reviewing the terms and conditions of a large number of staff.

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According to the county council, the process is designed to ‘bring about a simpler, more transparent workforce structure’ – reducing the number of job descriptions and creating a smaller number of ‘job families’.

There is an expectation that pay for most posts will remain ‘in a similar range’ to existing levels, following the review.

However some salaries for some roles are expected to increase – bringing them back in line with job markets for similar roles in the South East.

And other roles will be looked at to ensure they are in line with comparable roles elsewhere in the council.

Where salaries are found to be ‘above the market rate’, it has been said that the individual post holder will be placed on pay protection where their pay will be protected for two years.

The ‘Future Workforce’ review was also discussed by the employment committee in a private session.