Green Party Councillor and South Thanet Parliamentary Candidate, Ian Driver, has called for Thanet District Council (TDC) to have its name changed to Thanet Interim Council (TIC).
His tongue-in-cheek comment follows a Freedom of Information revelation that the Council’s 10 most senior posts are being carried out by 7 interim managers, or covered by 3 lower graded staff “acting up” to cover the senior-level vacancies.
The interim posts are Director of Community Service, Director of Corporate Resources, Head of Legal Services, Open Spaces Manager, Management Accountant, Strategic Planning Manager, Frontline Services Manager The acting-up posts are Chief Executive, Head of Communications and Head of Financial Services. The cost of the acting up-arrangements is £41,487 per year plus pension contributions. The cosy of employing interim managers is usually in the region of 15% more than the salary of a permanent employee which assuming an average salary of £70,000 for each the 7 posts would be £ £73,500. This gives a total additional cost of at least £114, 987 to cover the 10 vacant posts.
Said Driver “I have never heard of a council without a full-time permanent senior management team in place. To have the entire senior officer team made up of interims and acting-up staff must be unique in annals of local government history. Managing the Council in this way puts TDC at great risk of system failure, catastrophic mistakes and errors and poor service delivery because those covering the posts will have little knowledge or experience of Thanet and the councils procedures.”
He added “the collapse of the previous senior management structure was brought about by an ill-conceived restructuring exercise which drove out several talented officers. There were also problems with the reputation and image of the Council following the damning independent Peer Review last year and appalling political mismanagement by the Labour Cabinet which led some senior officers to move on. As a result Thanet District Council has been transformed into Thanet Interim Council and taxpayers have had to pay significantly over the odds to cover the senior vacancies. I sincerely hope that new and capable officers are quickly employed to turn the Council around following the recent recruitment exercise.