Council shake-up after boss quits

Sheena Ramsey
Sheena Ramsey

Knowsley Council’s chief executive has stepped down - sparking a major restructuring of the authority’s senior management team.

Following Sheena Ramsey’s decision to take voluntary redundancy, council bosses approved the promotion of her deputy, Mike Harden, to take on the role but drawing a significantly reduced salary.

Town hall chiefs also initiated a major re-organisation of the council’s corporate management team.

They will now employ four executive directors whose role it is to support Mr Harden and provide strategic leadership for the entire council.

A further review of senior management posts by the cash-strapped council will be carried out over the next few months.

The new chief executive’s pay will be substantially reduced from £192,000 to £160,000.

In addition the post of deputy chief executive vacated by Mr Harden will be scrapped - saving taxpayers £145,811 in wage costs. Three other senior management posts have also been axed.

In total, council chiefs say saving of £810,000 have been made through the management review.

Council leader Ron Round said: “These significant changes to our structure represent a positive step forward for the organisation and will allow us to be better equipped to meet the significant financial savings and service challenges we face.”

Since 2010, the council has reduced the number of senior managers it employs by 43 per cent, saving £8m to date. The size of the overall workforce has been reduced by 27 per cent.

Knowsley is also undergoing a ward boundary review with a proposal to reduce the number of borough councillors from 63 to 45.

Both decisions relating to the management’s structure have been supported by councillors, who voted in favour of the plans.

However, Prescot parish councillor Carl Cashman, who is standing as the Liberal Democrats candidate for Prescot at next year’s general election, believes the reductions do not go far enough and called for the council itself to be dismantled.

He said: “Knowsley Council was created in 1974 and ever since communities such as Prescot and Kirkby have suffered. We’ve seen the devastating effect of the Labour Council. Knowsley Council should to be scrapped to save money.”

* What do you think? Should Knowsley be abolished? Write to Letters, Prescot Reporter, Martland Mill, Martland Mill Lane, Wigan, WN5 0LX or email sthelens.reporter@lep.co.uk