Leader’s statement on senior management arrangements

Earlier this year the council had a series of robust debates about whether to remove the post but concluded that a permanent change required further consideration. Following further cross party discussion, it has been decided to put an interim arrangement in place pending a senior management review. The council has reached an amicable agreement with Joanna to step down so this can take place.

The post of Chief Executive will not be deleted in the first instance to enable the council to consider the best management arrangements for the future, without ruling out any future options.

It is proposed, subject to Council decision, that the interim arrangement will involve the Chief Executive’s responsibilities being shared amongst the management team with Peter Clark, currently Chief Legal Officer, becoming the statutory Head of Paid Service, and the other directors taking on additional duties in support.

I am confident that we can reduce the costs of the senior management team, which was always my aim. The council will now do a cross party stocktake and review all the senior management options, with new arrangements announced in due course.

In considering management options, we will have to balance reducing costs with the need to ensure the council has the right structure to face difficult financial challenges ahead. Proposals for the new arrangements will be considered by full council and will form part of the budget, which is agreed in February 2016.

Joanna will leave at the end of September 2015, and I would like to thank her for ten years of dedicated service as a highly effective Chief Executive who has made a great contribution to public services in Oxfordshire.

She has steered the council successfully through unprecedented changes in local government, and leaves the council in very good shape to meet the challenges ahead. In my time as leader, I have valued her wise counsel and ability to look ahead, which ensured that we have been able to prepare for difficult times and take opportunities. I would like to thank her personally for that advice and support, and wish her the very best for the future.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth

Leader, Oxfordshire County Council