Council plots £151,000 spend on strategic director role

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant - Credit: East Suffolk Council

East Suffolk Council will spend an estimated £151,000 on the recruitment and employment of a new strategic director between 2022 and 2023.

Approved unanimously in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, this appointment will require the approval of a supplementary budget of an estimated £38,000. 

Steve Gallant, leader of the council, said at the meeting: “It has been evident for some time that senior officers are really stretched and extra capacity is required.

“Heads of service deserve a more supportive senior management team than they’ve got at the moment, which we have spread too thinly. 

“I do not want people to think ‘here we go, let’s just stick more people at the top.’ 

“If you increase the bottom, you need to have the strategic governance and leadership.” 

Mr Gallant mentioned the recently-appointed data analyst and design champion as examples of the increase in roles lower down the council hierarchy.

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Mary Rudd, Conservative, said: “We’ve got so many huge things coming up and we can’t let anything slip because the residents will be on to us if we do.”

David Beavan, Liberal Democrat, said: “I’m questioning whether this is the right investment at the moment, considering the vacancies lower down the council workforce and the fact that the general workforce will have a real-terms pay cut this year. 

“I just don’t think it’s the right time for this, but I accept the arguments based on pay and capacity.”

The report recommending the new post stated aims of ensuring the council has sufficient capacity at the most senior level to deliver its strategic plan, maintaining and strengthening its approach to corporate governance, and enabling greater senior officer provision and project delivery.