Decision due on jobshare

PLANS to share a senior officer with a neighbouring local authority could finally be decided next week.

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

The move would save each local authority £50,000 a year.

The proposal is to create a new joint post which would see both councils share the cost and services of Ms Machers.

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

But speaking at the last cabinet meeting, Labour councillor Robbie Payne said a wider review of departments could save £250,000 and that the focus should not just be on one post.

It was agreed to defer the report at the previous meeting and senior councillors will sit down again on Tuesday.

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.

If approved, it would see Ms Machers work two and a half days a week for each council.

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

A report to cabinet said: “It is proposed that Hartlepool Borough Council enter into an agreement for the council’s customer and workforce services officer to undertake a joint head of HR role with Darlington Borough Council.

“A formal legal contract would be drawn up between the two authorities agreeing to share equally the costs of the post and would be subject to annual review.

“Hartlepool would remain the employer of the current postholder and the current main terms and conditions of employment would continue although a variation to contract would be required to reflect the services required to be delivered to Darlington Council.”

Speaking at the last meeting, Coun Payne said: “We are talking about one isolated post when we should be looking at the full structure.”

Coun Payne, who wanted to reject the job share, said a restructure of the council’s contact centre, HR department and chief executive’s department could save £250,000.

His comments have since received support from Conservative group leader, Councillor Ray Wells.

Coun Wells said: “I would wholeheartedly support his comments.

“We should be looking at the bigger picture.”

The report added that consultations about the structure of the chief executive’s department are ongoing.

The cabinet committee is due to meet on Tuesday, August 30, at 9.15am in the council chamber.