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Concern as Senior SNC Staff Leave for Oxfordshire

Author: Martin Johns - Lib Dem Published: 4th July 2018 17:53
Liberal Democrats are concerned that it’s not just the letters from the Forum’s signage that’s leavingLiberal Democrats are concerned that it’s not just the letters from the Forum’s signage that’s leavingLiberal Democrats are concerned that it’s not just the letters from the Forum’s signage that’s leaving

The Oxford Mail is reporting that Yvonne Rees, currently joint chief executive for South Northants and Cherwell Council, is set to be approved as the new chief executive for Cherwell and Oxfordshire County Council.

In effect this poaching of SNC’s chief executive (who was shared with Cherwell) is the first concrete local impact of the forced move to Unitary Government in Northamptonshire.

Liberal Democrat, and Opposition Leader at SNC, Councillor Chris Lofts explained: “I certainly do not blame any experienced manager for reading the writing on the wall and choosing to leave at this time of uncertainty. The Conservative’s total mismanagement of Northamptonshire County Council has caused an earthquake to ripple through all local government in our county.

What is particularly concerning is that SNC runs the risk of losing many of its senior managers in the run up to Unitary Government. It has emerged that the Tory Leadership at SNC have allowed all recent senior appointments to be directly employed by Cherwell Council. None of the current Directors on the management team is directly employed by South Northants Council.”

Councillor Chris Lofts added: “It is incredible that the Tory run administration at SNC has allowed Cherwell to effectively snatch all of what had been considered, jointly employed Directors. Were the Cabinet sleeping when the employment contracts were drawn up? This means our services could lose focus and residents may lose out over the coming months.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Johns added: “It appears that SNC has been mugged. The rather cosy relationship between Cherwell and SNC Conservatives seems to have benefited Oxfordshire rather than our residents here in Northamptonshire. As the councils separate it could be South Northamptonshire that are left in the lurch with temporary appointments whilst Cherwell retains the most senior and experienced managers.”

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Ian McCord
At 17:23 on 5th July 2018, Ian McCord commented:
This is irresponsible.

It is true to say that there is a lot of uncertainty at present and the situation in Northamptonshire is difficult. However, in an attempt to score cheap political points the staff and officers of the councils, who cannot answer back, should not be used as pawns in a pathetic Lib Dem game.

There is much speculation about the future of Yvonne Rees. No decisions have been taken by any council on this. The items will go to Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell Council later this month.

As we map out a new future for Northamptonshire the first priority is to the residents to ensure continued delivery of the things they rely on SNC for. That can only be done by a dedicated set of officers and staff. Members like me, can set policy and a strategic direction but the implementation of that is by the paid officers and full time staff.

Articles like this that seek to make political points undermine the staff and destabilise the organisations, that will precipitate that exodus the authors claim to be concerned about. They, like all members, have been given updates on the facts, none of which made it into the above.

My priority is to continue to deliver high quality services, I am proud that SNC has a top 10 recycling rate, collects over 99% of the council tax, is solvent, has reserves and can attract high quality staff to keep SNC as one of the most desirable places to live in the country.

I know Yvonne Rees is committed to ensuring that residents needs are paramount. The comments above, kicking those who cannot answer back is childish bulling, scaremongering and you would have expected more from someone who was once the deputy Chief Exec of SNC.

Once last factual point, staffing and personnel matters are not matters for the Cabinet, the law makes it clear that these are for council or delegated committee. In our case this is overseen by the something called the JCC, it is cross party and Cllr Lofts is a member of that committee and I can advise that never once did he raise employment contracts during the recruitment process for Yvonee Rees or anyone else.

Ian McCord
Leader South Northants Council
At 15:10 on 12th July 2018, JimmyB commented:
Bit bitter are we Ian?

Look, fact of the matter is someone working at SNC (jointly) could be leaving for Cherwell and Oxfordshire. To me that stinks of someone jumping ship before the unitary chaos.

Article only seems to suggest that. Maybe you are looking too much into it. Fact of the matter is that SNC wont exist in a couple of years and what remains will be clearing up the mess your party created at NCC.
At 10:45 on 29th July 2018, caz commented:
This article and responses just reinforce my view that at this time of division in our country and the wider world, we urgently need to reassess the role of party politics.
Again its my view that these are divisive , often petty and distract politicians from actually going forward in improving life for our country and it’s people.
Its all about point scoring and not about working together for a better country for us all. Whatever our situation and our beliefs.
Time for a government and a council of unity and vision of a better future for all.

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