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Press Release from Cardiff City Council

CARDIFF COUNCIL MARKS “FRESH START” WITH PLEDGES ON LIVING WAGE AND PROTECTION OF FRONTLINE SERVICES

Cardiff Council Leader Heather Joyce today (Tuesday July 3rd) outlined her Administration’s bold and ambitious plans to invest in staff, protect front-line jobs and services and revitalise Cardiff’s city government.

Ahead of the publication later this week of Cardiff Council's vision document for the forthcoming year, Cllr Joyce has outlined plans to make Cardiff Council the first Council in Wales to pay all of its staff the Living Wage, radically reduce the Council's multi-million pound reliance on management consultants and restructure the Council's senior management team to better protect front-line jobs and services and make circa £55 million savings over the next 3 years.

Council Leader Cllr Heather Joyce said:
"From my first day in the job as Leader of this Council, I made it clear that my guiding principle would be providing the best services possible to the people of Cardiff. Today's announcement is about doing just that, starting with this Council bringing more than 2,000 Council staff up to the Living Wage by September 2012.  These staff are doing some of the most important and challenging jobs in the Council, and we believe that they should be paid  a decent salary for their work. But it is not only right in terms of Social Justice – it makes sense for the local economy too, putting a little extra in people's pockets that will help stimulate businesses across our city. 

“This is important given that Welfare Reforms being introduced by Central Government means potentially 20% of the people receiving benefits in Cardiff will suffer a further significant cut next April.  Let’s not forget that this is at a time when Council services are already under considerable pressure which will increase as we work to make savings to fill a funding gap of circa £55 million. ”

The announcement will mean that from the next financial year all workers employed by Cardiff Council will earn a Living Wage of £7.20 per hour, £1.12p an hour more than the National Minimum Wage. This will mean a salary increase for more than 2,000 of Cardiff Council's lowest paid permanent staff.

Cllr Joyce also asked Council Chief Executive Jon House to lessen significantly the Council's current reliance on costly management consultants, and to bring forward cost neutral plans to restructure the Council’s senior officer team to properly enable the Council to achieve the circa £55 million pounds in savings it must reach over the next three years while protecting front-line services and jobs. As a result the Chief Executive has reviewed the senior team arrangements and is proposing a number of structural changes. The end to excessive use of management consultants will ensure there is no extra cost to Council taxpayers as a result of this reorganisation.

Council Leader Cllr Heather Joyce said:
“I have strong, ambitious plans for Cardiff to be a world-beating capital which puts a premium on protecting the most vulnerable, creates opportunities for those who need them and is a catalyst for the city region. I am also unflinching in my commitment to protecting front-line services and the jobs of those people who deliver them, even as we find the circa £55 million in savings over the next three years. It is also vital that we properly resource support for all Councillors and the Scrutiny function, enabling all elected members to engage with Council business, and ensuring that the Cabinet is held properly to account for the decisions they take.

However, it is clear is that the structure is not currently in place for these objectives to be delivered, which is why the Chief Executive has developed a new senior team model that will make this Council properly accountable, enable it achieve extremely difficult financial savings and protect jobs and services.

This will see the Council end its reliance on costly management consultants and instead employing permanent staff with the skills and expertise needed at a senior team level, who will also demonstrate loyalty to the organisation, work effectively in a member-led local authority and develop a keen understanding of the city they serve. It also means we can deliver the new structure at no extra cost to the Council budget.

With the right people in place, it will be down to my Cabinet, and the Chief Executive, to deliver on our promises, and the people of Cardiff will rightly expect results. Having ensured that the Chief Executive has the tools he needs at his disposal, I am confident that this Council will deliver.”

The proposed new model has been designed by the Chief Executive to provide Cabinet with the senior team support needed in order to successfully achieve the new administration’s city government style of leadership, putting Cabinet members at the centre of Council decision making while ensuring that not only are front-line services protected but the savings of circa £55 million which are needed over the next three years are achieved. Under the proposals, Directors and Assistant Directors would work at the highest level to support their relevant Cabinet member and manage the teams responsible for the delivery of portfolio priorities.

Salaries will be weighted to reflect new responsibilities in line with external benchmarking which has already highlighted that Cardiff lags significantly behind London and the other core cities for remuneration. All costs associated with the restructuring will be met through the significant reduction in use of management consultants.

The proposal will be subject to consultation with affected staff and their trade union representatives and it is proposed that this consultation will take place during the summer with an updated report to be presented to Cabinet in September for final approval including any changes in pay.  The Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Director and Director posts will be dealt with simultaneously before moving to the Assistant Director positions.

 

4th July 2012, 14:22
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