Agenda and draft minutes

Extraordinary meeting, Council - Wednesday, 15th January, 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices. View directions

Contact: Emma Denny  Email:

No. Item


Chairman's Communications

To receive the Chairman’s communications, if any.


The Chairman opened the meeting by asking Members to observe one minutes silence in remembrance of former councillor, Brian Hannah, who had served as an elected member of the Council, representing Sheringham, for 22 years from 1997 to 2019.


He then invited the Leader to say a few words. Cllr S Butikofer said that Mr Hannah had been known as ‘Mr Sheringham’ and had been involved in organisations in the town throughout his life. He was a very strong character who fought very hard for his beliefs. He was extremely proud of his family and thoroughly enjoyed his year as Chairman of Norfolk County Council, with his wife Beverley as his consort. She concluded by saying that it had been a real pleasure to work with Brian and he would be very sorely missed.


The Chairman thanked the Leader and said that before moving onto the next agenda item, he wanted to congratulate Cllr Cushing on his recent appointment as Group Leader for the Conservative Group.


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence, if any.


Apologies had been received from Cllrs G Hayman, S Penfold, J Punchard and John Toye.




Members are asked at this stage to declare any interests that they may have in any of the following items on the agenda.  The Code of Conduct for Members requires that declarations include the nature of the interest and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest.




Urgent Business

To consider any items of urgent business, as agreed by the Chairman.


Exclusion of Press and Public

To pass the following resolution – if necessary:


“That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph(s) _ of Part 1 of Schedule 12A (as amended) to the Act.”


The Chairman reminded Members that there were exempt appendices to the report. He said that if any Member wished to discuss any information within the appendices then the meeting would need to go into private session.


Strategic Leadership Restructure pdf icon PDF 119 KB




This report sets out a proposed strategic leadership restructure to better enable the Council to meet the priorities set out in its new Corporate Plan and the ambitions of Members following the District Council elections in May last year. 

It is proposed that the Corporate Director roles are deleted and replaced with a single Chief Executive.

This report seeks authority to move forwards with a formal consultation with the Corporate Directors.




A proposed restructure of the strategic leadership is recommended to ensure the Council is well placed to deliver on its Corporate Plan priorities agreed by the Council.

That the single Chief Executive model represents the most effective one for the Council in delivering those priorities and is put forward as the basis for consultation and that formal consultation commences with affected employees (Corporate Directors and Heads of Paid Service).

That following formal consultation, the matter should be reconsidered by Cabinet and any financial implications arising from the agreement of a proposed restructure are reported at that point if necessary.



















Reasons for the






1.      To refer the proposed model to the Employment and Appeals Committee (EAC) on 7th January 2020 for consideration and onward reporting to Council on 15th January 2020.


2.    To recommend to Council on 15th January 2020 to receive the Cabinet’s preferred model for consultation and delegate to the EAC any consequential employment matters arising from any restructuring process, following the consultation and a subsequent Cabinet decision to the EAC. 


3.    To commence formal consultation with the affected post holders subject to the view of the Employment and Appeals Committee and Council.



There is now an imperative to review the strategic leadership structure, to ensure that it is aligned to deliver and achieve the ambitions that Members have set out in the new Corporate Plan. The Council needs to ensure its senior leadership structure has the right roles and skills in place to deliver on the Council’s objectives.






Additional documents:


The Leader, Cllr S Bütikofer, introduced this item. She began by saying that the decision to take the report to Full Council had not been taken lightly. The proposed consultation was in no way a reflection on the characters of the post holders.


The report before Members was the same one that had been considered by Cabinet on 6th January and the Employment & Appeals Committee on 7th January. There was no requirement within the Constitution for Full Council to consider the report but she wanted the process to be as transparent as possible, adding that if the proposal to restructure was supported then it would come back to Council for further consideration.


The Leader then outlined the background to the proposal. She explained that in 2016 there had been an opportunity to explore a shared chief executive model with Great Yarmouth Borough Council. This was suddenly dropped, without explanation, and quickly followed by the departure of three of the Council’s senior officers who joined Great Yarmouth BC on a permanent basis. A report was then taken to Full Council in September 2016 to appoint the two Corporate Directors as Joint Heads of Paid Service on an interim basis. Cllr Bütikofer raised her concerns about the impact of this decision at the time. In November 2016 these appointments were made permanent and once again Cllr Bütikofer voiced her concerns strongly at Full Council.


Twelve months later, Cllr Bütikofer became leader of the Council. She sought advice from the LGA on the structure and was told that it was ‘of concern’. They advised that no other council operated a joint heads of paid service model, whilst some had two corporate directors who rotated the head of paid service role between themselves. At the time she was Leader of a hung council and did not feel that it was appropriate to take action, she also wanted to see for herself how the model worked in action. Shortly afterwards, the Investors in People (IIP) assessment was commissioned by senior officers and this highlighted some areas of concern regarding the leadership of the Council.


In May 2019, following the District Council elections, Cllr Bütikofer, now Leader of a new administration, raised concerns about several projects. No specific officers were involved but there was a link between them that couldn’t be ignored. A decision was taken to commission a capability review of the Council to see if it could deliver on the ambitions of the new administration.


The Leader explained that the final page of the Capability Review was not published at the time because it made uncomfortable reading for some staff. A decision was then taken to move to consultation regarding the two senior officer posts. This was put on hold due to an investigation. This investigation was now concluded and it was time to proceed with the consultation process.


Cllr E Seward, Deputy Leader, seconded the proposals and said that he wished to reserve his right to speak.


The Chairman invited Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Private Business