The Chief Executive says in his message to councillors:
"I have been reviewing our organisational structure in the light of the Council's budget discussions and decisions, and in the knowledge that the UK's continuing severe and prolonged economic downturn will mean further pressure from Government on the public sector.
While we have made impressive progress in delivering efficiencies within the Council, there are undoubtedly further opportunities to reduce our costs even further.
I am keen that we develop a strategy for 'Place', which integrates our approach to living and working in and enjoying and sustaining the natural and built environment in Cornwall. This will require some changes to our structures and in recent weeks I have been discussing with the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) the impact of the changes that have already been implemented and those that are anticipated.
Many of the recent changes have affected the Environment, Planning and Economy Directorate (EPE). In the last year accountability for the Alternative Service Delivery Project for Neighbourhood Services and for the Green Cornwall Programme transferred to the Communities and Chief Executive's Directorates respectively. We have just commenced a review of the management of economic development which will be moving to the Chief Executive's Department.In this context, I have discussed with Tom the possibility of a redundancy situation arising and to assist the organisation, he has agreed to take voluntary redundancy from his post as Corporate Director of EPE."
This announcement throws up more questions than it answers. Why is there yet another round of restructuring and reorganisation being announced in the week before Christmas?
If this has been planned for some time, why did neither the Chief Executive nor Leader even hint at it when they were interviewed by the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee just a week ago? Was this a decision by the cabinet or by the Chief Executive and, if the latter, was the Cabinet even consulted before the changes were announced?
These continual reorganisations always have a cost and we think it should be made clear how much these changes will cost the Cornish taxpayer, both in terms of any pay-offs and any other costs that arise out of the continual rearranging of deck chairs.
The Environment, Planning and Economy Directorate is facing challenging decisions over public toilets, parking and buses amongst other things. But this change creates a vacuum at the head of the department when certainty is needed.
Finally, is this the end of the changes or is Cornwall Council to be in a state of permanent revolution?