Council shake-up plans revealed

Town clerk Sharon O'Connor. (2109MM25)
Town clerk Sharon O'Connor. (2109MM25)

The reorganisation of management structures at Derry City Council is not about cost-cutting but providing a more efficient service, chief executive Sharon O’Connor has said.

Ms O’Connor made the comment after presenting her report on the Council’s Management Reorganisational Review to staff this morning.

It’s thought it proposes significant changes in staffing at top levels in the Council.

Staff were told that 14 permanent management position could be at risk as part of the management shake-up. Ms O’Connor also said that the rest of the organisation would not be impacted by the management changes and those affected will be offered other positions within Derry City Council.

The local government changes will form part of the preparation for the City of Culture celebrations in 2013 and the ongoing regeneration plans.

The chief executive said it has now been agreed to move forward to the next stage of the review and that the report will be implemented in the coming weeks and months.

“The purpose of the report is to ensure that ratepayers in the Derry City Council area get quality and efficient public services,” she said.

“Derry City Council is committed to improving its service delivery and getting the right people in the right jobs. The change process announced this week is not specifically about cost-cutting but about delivering efficient and best value services to local residents as we prepare for the Review of Public Administration,” she added.

Ms O’Connor said the process of change was necessary in the current economic climate.

She also said the reorganisation is a key priority for Council and has been fully endorsed by elected members.

“This is about having the right people in the right jobs and delivering the quality of service the public will expect.

“This is not about creating redundancies; this is about creating a management structure that is fit for purpose.

“So there are no posts to go at this stage. There are clearly a number of posts at risk because we are developing a new structure.

“Those people affected will have the opportunity to go back to their substantive posts if they were acting up or to apply for the new posts that will be created as part of this process.

“I have to stress that this is not something that is going to affect anyone by Monday of next week or even within the next couple of months.

“It is about identifying new posts that those people who are at risk can apply for and if they are unsuccessful in achieving appointment to those posts they can be considered for suitable alternatives within the organisation.

“And it’s only as a result of having exhausted all of those processes that we’ll be talking about any redundancy arrangements, at this point there are no redundancies,” she said.

Trade unions had previously expressed concerns about the possibility of redundancies during the reorganisation.