Monday, 27 September 2010

You Put Yer Director of Adult Services In, Yer Director of Adult Services Out...

So then, Michael Williams. Soon to be former Director of Communities according to this report going to the Appointments and Conditions of Services Committee in October. He's 'retiring' you see and NCC are seeking to appoint a temporary replacement until a permanent postholder can be found. This makes things complicated, more on that in a bit.

Mr Williams' 'retirement' surely hasn't got anything to do with an interview for his post back in June has it? Strangely, despite the fact that the interview was held by the self same ACOS committee as per the way with recruitment of chief officers, you won't find it in the list of ACOS meetings on the NCC website, nor are there any minutes. It used to be there, after all that's how I got hold of it and obviously the agenda itself is still in the database as the link still works (for now anyway). How very strange.

It's possible that MW was always due to retire and that this was an attempt to recruit to his replacement which didn't succeed, resulting in the need to look for a temporary solution. It certainly wasn't an attempt to find a temp as the report informs ACOS that -

"Curriculum Vitae’s have been sourced through the procurement framework and suitable candidates interviewed by the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of HR and Organisational Transformation."

The report also mentions that NCC have had a temporary Corporate Director for Development (following the ejection of Barry Horne) since August 2009, over 13 months. That really is a bit shit. The intention is that temporary postholders for both jobs will be in place until 'the early part of 2011'.

This of course means that 50% of NCC's Corporate Directors will be temporary, at a time when they are all due to be going through a 'Leadership Programme' training course. Potentially therefore, they could spend all that money on around 10 days training each and then they might leave. It's lucky therefore that temporary senior managers at NCC seem to have a good track of eventually getting the permanent appointment then isn't it? *cough* Jane Todd *cough*

Anyway, back to the complicated bit around Michael Williams leaving.

As the report points out (and I'm not trying to be clever here, this is the first time I knew about it too), there is a statutory duty under sch 2 of the Children Act 2004 for councils who have responsibilities for social services functions to appoint a chief officer to carry out the role of Director of Adult Social Services. According to the statutory guidance it's OK to combine the role with another but it is a somewhat involved role (more than just a figurehead as the report acknowledges) and must be accountable to the Chief Executive, similar to the chief officer for children's services.

Those of you with long memories will know that NCC have quite recently abolished the chief officer role for adult social services which at first glance doesn't seem super compatible with the above requirements. The post had already been combined with the duties of the Director of Housing yet the chief officership for adult services duties were simply grafted onto Michael Williams' Corporate Director of Communities job. I understand that much of the housing stuff went over to the Development brief.

Now, on paper at least this complied with the letter of the legislation and Williams at least had a (non chief officer) Director for Adult Services who could do all the actual work because, as far as I know, Williams has no experience of social services at all.

So does this arrangement comply with the spirit of the legislation and guidance? I would say not really due to the professional requirements of the role and Williams' lack of experience in them. Also, while the report argues that everything was fine and dandy with Williams carrying out the DASS role it apparently won't be for his temporary replacement to do so. So, and you're probably ahead of me on this one, their solution is to re-introduce a chief officer for adult social services, like we had before, at least on a temporary basis. Didn't anybody in the know see this coming?

The report isn't clear as to whether this post will be formally titled Corporate Director as NCC chief officers are labelled. However, it seems unlikely that the director currently reporting to Williams (for it is he who they are proposing to give a leg up) would be willing to take on the responsibility of a Corporate Director without trousering a substantial proportion of Corporate Director's pay. And I'm getting the impression that whoever they have in mind for the Communities post is probably a consultant of some kind (the word 'procurement' is used rather than recruitment) so there will no doubt be added costs to cover a self employment status.

The restructure of the senior management team at the end of last year was about saving money. How's that going then?

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