EDDC: Chief executive could be shared

THE chief executive of East Devon District Council, Mark Williams, could be shared with an authority in Somerset in a bid to save money.

THE chief executive of East Devon District Council, Mark Williams, could be 'shared' with an authority in Somerset in a bid to save money.

Mr Williams has been described as 'best fit' to be chief executive of both South Somerset District Council and East Devon District Council.

Today, councillors on the Lib Dem-run Somerset council are being asked to consider recommendations which if backed, could see Mr Williams in post by April next year.

In a report being considered by SSDC's executive today, councillors are being asked to support a 'partnership arrangement at the officer level' which would 'save a considerable amount of taxpayer's money.'

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Philip Dolan, Chief Executive of SSDC writes in the report: "...there appears to be a strong basis for a productive partnership...

"East Devon is a council rated 'Good' under the old Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime, as indeed was South Somerset.

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"Such an arrangement would be established to save a considerable amount of taxpayers' money while preserving services and service levels."

Mr Dolan also points out that the populations are comparable; East Devon serves 135,000 people over 814 sq kilometres while South Somerset serves 162,000 people over 960 sq kilometres:

"....it is East Devon which, in the opinion of the chief executive and the leader, is best fit," continues Mr Dolan.

"East Devon has been occupied for sometime now on the unitary debate that has been high on the agenda in Devon.

"They have taken a leading role in arguing for the retaining of the two-tier system in that county. There are obvious advantages in South Somerset being a neighbour district from across the border and not a party to the Devon debate..."

A spokesman for East Devon District Council said: "As part of EDDC's ongoing commitment to give greater value for money to residents and to make savings on the delivery of high quality services, the chief executive has been given leave to discuss with neighbouring councils the possible mutual benefits to be gained from working more closely.

"This might include the sharing of one or more senior managers.

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