Friday saw Newcastle City council announced that it is to shed 270 management jobs to save over £9m next year.
The council explained further that it “employs around 10,000 staff (excluding teaching staff, which are not covered by these plans), of whom around 1,400 are managers. Over half of these 1,400 manage four or fewer people, and in some areas the Council has ten or more layers of management between the Chief Executive and front-line staff directly serving the public. The new plans intend that managers will each lead teams with a minimum of seven staff each, and often up to 12.”
One can but wonder how such a management structure was allowed to grow, but full marks to the council for addressing it – always assuming that it actually achieves it, and doesn’t just retain the staff but in the same job roles without the title “manager”.
From my experience there are many larger authorities – Mets, Unitaries and London Boroughs that can follow Newcastle’s example and shed several layers of (unnecessary) management. With the proper implementation of modern technology it is possible to have much flatter management structures; most times with faster, better communication that older, more hierarchical structures.
Surprisingly, from my experience, I believe that many counties also have more efficient structures (except possibly in the larger departments of Education and Social Services), and district councils have, in general, already taken such steps and have much better management structures.
It will interesting to see how many larger authorities bite the bullet and follow Newcastle’s lead....