Council to spend £150k on new senior officer role

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: Ruth

East Suffolk House at Riduna Park, Melton - home of Suffolk Coastal District Council. Picture: Ruth Leach.

East Suffolk Council will spend an estimated £151,000 on the recruitment and employment of a new strategic director. 

Approved unanimously in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the appointment will require the approval of a supplementary budget of an estimated £38,000. 

Steve Gallant, leader of the council, said: “It has been evident for some time that senior officers are really stretched and extra capacity is required. 

Leader of East Suffolk Council cllr Steve Gallant

Leader of East Suffolk Council cllr Steve Gallant - Credit: East Suffolk Council

“Heads of service deserve a more supportive senior management team than they’ve got at the moment, which we have spread too thinly. 

“I do not want people to think ‘here we go, let’s just stick more people at the top'.

“If you increase the bottom, you need to have the strategic governance and leadership.” 

Mr Gallant mentioned the recently-appointed data analyst and design champion as examples of the increase in roles lower down the council hierarchy.  

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Conservative councillor Mary Rudd said: “We’ve got so many huge things coming up and we can’t let anything slip because the residents will be on to us if we do.” 

Liberal Democrat David Beavan said: “I’m questioning whether this is the right investment at the moment, considering the vacancies lower down the council workforce and the fact that the general workforce will have a real-terms pay cut this year. 

“I just don’t think it’s the right time for this, but I accept the arguments based on pay and capacity.” 

The report recommending the new post said the role would ensure the council has sufficient capacity at the most senior level to deliver its strategic plan, maintain and strengthen its approach to corporate governance, and enable greater senior officer provision and project delivery.