Shock restructure for county council

County councillor Geoff Driver
County councillor Geoff Driver

Lancashire County Council’s new Tory rulers have unveiled plans for a major restructure of the council’s management team.

The surprise move came near the end of yesterday’s cabinet meeting at county hall after press and public had been excluded. It placed an immediate question mark over the future of Chief Executive Jo Turton.

Council leader County Coun Geoff Driver (pictured) refused to comment as he left the meeting, but later Coun Alan Vincent, lead member for human resources and property, said the proposed changes had been approved and would now be considered by the full county council next Thursday.

The move follows reports earlier this week that Coun Driver had instructed Chief Executive Jo Turton and other senior officers not to attend briefing meetings with him but to communicate only by email.

Coun Vincent said that as the current chief executive role would be replaced with a new position requiring formal financial qualifications: “The intention would be to appoint to that new position on an interim basis as soon as possible, should full council agree.”

The new structure would see a Chief Executive also becoming Director of Resources There would be three Executive Directors - one for Growth, Environment, Transportation and Community Services, one for Education and Children’s services and one for Adult Services and Health and Wellbeing, plus six directors.

Coun Azhar Ali, leader of the Labour group said: “It’s going to bring this council into disrepute and cause chaos.” He now wants the local government minister to step in.