Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Derry council posts to go in management overhaul

Fourteen posts at Derry City Council are to go as part of an organisational overhaul agreed this week.

Derry City Council’s town clerk and chief executive Sharon O’Connor (below) presented her plan to overhaul the current management structure which received all-party support on Wednesday.

In it she identified 14 positions at management level where those currently in the jobs will be given the choice to either re-apply for their job or return to the position within the council they previously held.

Ms O'Connor insists there will be no job losses at this stage.

Speaking to the North West Telegraph, she said: “This plan was all about getting this organisation fit for purpose and making sure the right people are in the right jobs so that ratepayers get the quality of services they expect.

However, she admitted: “There has been a lot of scaremongering around this whole activity.

“This is not about making people redundant, this is about creating a management structure fit for purpose so there are no jobs going at this stage, but there are posts that are at risk because we are developing a new structure that will affect 14 posts at management level.

“The rank and file of the organisation should not be in any way concerned about this,” she added.

Union officials from Nipsa spent most of yesterday in consultation with their affected members and the town clerk discussing the impact of the plan.

Nipsa official Alan Law said there was a lot in the document to digest but was critical that the plan was handed to them as a fait accompli.

He said: “We would have preferred to be consulted on this plan as it was being prepared and to have input into it at that stage, but at this early stage I would question the level of savings it proposes to make ahead of the merger between Derry City Council and Strabane District Council.

However, Ms O'Connor insisted the plan was about getting Derry City Council into a strong position in time for the merger of the two councils.

She added: “The purpose of the report is to ensure that ratepayers get quality and efficient public services.

“The change process announced this week is not specifically about cost-cutting but about delivering efficient and best value services to local residents as we prepare for the Review of Public Administration.

“This is about equipping our people to be as professional so we can deliver on efficiency and service. As soon as the report was passed at council we immediately engaged with the employees and relevant unions including Nipsa.”

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