Councils’ job share approved

Joanne Machers
Joanne Machers

PLANS to share a senior council officer with a neighbouring local authority have been approved.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee had twice delayed making a decision to share Joanne Machers as head of human resources with Darlington Borough Council.

But yesterday they finally agreed to create the new role to save each local authority £50,000 a year.

Nicola Bailey, Hartlepool’s acting chief executive, said: “There is a risk that one if not both parties become unhappy with the arrangement, but there will be regular contact to make sure it suits both sides.”

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond has previously described the proposals as a “no-brainer”.

But he said a cautious approach has been taken and clauses have been put in place so if either council find the move is not working the arrangement can be cancelled.

He said: “I have raised concerns with my opposite number at Darlington and he has reiterated the things said in the past about clauses and is happy to bring his cabinet across to speak with us in the future.

“I think all concerns have been covered and we will look at it again in six months time.”

The plan is for Ms Machers, Hartlepool’s chief customer and workforce services officer, to start the job share from November when Lesley Blundell, Darlington’s head of human resources, retires.

It will see Ms Machers work two and a half days a week for each council, with Hartlepool Borough Council still classed as her employer.

Her new role would oversee the management of all personnel, training, workforce planning, employment and health and safety issues.

Councillor Robbie Payne has been critical of the one-off job share and said at a previous meeting that a restructure of the council’s contact centre, HR department and chief executive’s department could save £250,000.

He added yesterday: “This is something we need to look at in the future. We shouldn’t just be looking at one role.”