Thursday, 16 May 2013

Medway Council Cabinet Reshuffle

Not quite so much politics as public information, as the changes made to Medway's Cabinet at last night's Annual Council meeting are significant, especially the structure and portfolios, which are now as follows...

Leader - Rodney Chambers
  • Democracy and governance
  • Inward investment
  • Regeneration
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • World Heritage Site Status 

Deputy Leader and Finance - Alan Jarrett
  • Better for Less
  • Communications and media
  • Council Plan
  • Council tax and business rates
  • Finance
  • Housing benefit
  • Performance and service improvement
  • (Council) Property
  • Risk management
  • Strategic procurement 

Adult Services - David Brake
  • Community care
  • Independent Safeguarding and Review Service
  • Health
  • Older people
  • Public Health (Lead Member)
  • Services for people with learning and physical disabilities
  • Telecare/Telemedicare 

Children’s Services (Lead Member) - Mike O’Brien
  • Children and Young People’s Plan
  • Early years
  • Further education
  • Home to school transport
  • Inclusion
  • Primary and secondary education
  • School services
  • Special educational needs
  • Specialist youth services
  • Youth
  • Adoption
  • Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children’s residential care
  • Fostering
  • Integrated Children’s Teams
  • Leaving Care
  • Looked After Children 

Educational Improvement - Kelly Tolhurst
  • Educational improvement as directed by the Children’s Services Portfolio Holder 

Community Safety and Customer Contact - David Carr
  • CCTV
  • Community safety
  • Community Officers
  • Customer Contact
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Enforcement (executive functions only)
  • Environmental health
  • ICT
  • Legal
  • Trading standards
  • Travellers 

Front Line Services - Phil Filmer
  • Parking
  • Public transport
  • Roads
  • Street cleaning and waste collection/ recycling/waste disposal
  • Traffic management
  • Transport 

Housing and Community Services - Howard Doe
  • Adult learning
  • Bereavement Services
  • Disabled adaptations to housing
  • Events and Festivals
  • Greenspaces
  • Heritage
  • Homeless and housing options
  • Housing allocations for social housing
  • Housing Strategy
  • Leisure services
  • Libraries and Community Hubs
  • Private sector housing
  • Registration
  • Sporting Legacy
  • The development and management of the council’s housing stock
  • Theatres and arts
  • Tourism
  • Voluntary sector 

Strategic Development and Economic Growth - Jane Chitty
  • Building and Development Control
  • Community centres
  • Economic development
  • Europe
  • Housing site allocations through the Local Development Framework
  • Local Development Framework
  • Planning
  • Rural Strategy
  • Social regeneration
  • Sustainable Communities 

Note that this represents a reduction to nine members from ten Рsomething that was done several years ago, but the Victoria Climbi̩ case resulted in a dedicated portfolio holder (and director) for this area of work, so it later went up again.

The restructuring of children's services, though a little unclear at this stage the form it will take for the (new) Educational Improvement position, is timely and responds to concerns within the community and at OFSTED.

This really needed a change from the former education/children portfolio holders so as to avoid unintentional continuity rather than a fresh approach, and anyone who has been in essentially the same job for a number of years tends to go a bit stale anyway. I well recall from my own days in the Civil Service that, no matter how good I became at any one job, eventually it was always better to move on and face new challenges.

In the above cases, political opponents (and local media) will no doubt make much more of it than is really there, but such is their customary practice. I see it as good management, and I think the coming few years will show this quite clearly.

It is also good to have two female members of the Cabinet; though this is still down on the days when we had then Cllrs Janice Bamber, Jane Chitty, Angela Prodger and Wendy Purdy making a more gender-balanced Cabinet – not that it matters, as fitting the right person to each job is what really counts, but I thought I should be the first to mention it, in case others try to make something out of that as well!

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