Two members of corporate management team to retire

Two senior members of the council’s corporate management team with 50 years’ service between them at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will retire by April 2022.

Joanna Ruffle and John Williams

John Williams, executive director for legal and democratic services has been with the council for 33 years and will retire by the end of March 2022.

Joanna Ruffle, executive director for transformation has been with the council for 17 years and will retire in September 2021.

A report being discussed by cabinet next week (Item 13, Cabinet, Tuesday 15 June) recommends the creation of one new executive director post for strategy, change and governance to replace these two roles. This will reduce the size of the corporate management team by one, and make ongoing annual savings of over £140,000 (including on-costs) from 2022/23.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council says: “John and Joanna have committed much of their careers to dedicated public service, amassing 50 years between them at this council alone, and we must thank them for that.

“Whilst their knowledge and expertise will be greatly missed, we wish them well as they enter a new chapter of their lives.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and these two upcoming retirements within the Corporate Management Team also gives us the opportunity to review the officer structure at this level, and the report highlights streamlining and making ongoing savings by reducing executive director posts by one, and making some further changes beneath that level.”

These changes include the creation of a new Director of Highways Operations which will be funded by deleting the Director of Planning role. This role will enable a dedicated resource to focus on the here and now with various Highways and Parking service projects underway.

Separately an interim Director of Strategic Planning will be recruited for two years to support the delivery of the Local Plan, major strategic regeneration projects and to support the strategic programmes established through ASELA including the delivery of housing and infrastructure. This will be funded through the current Strategic Plan budget and other associated capital schemes.

Meanwhile, the council’s appointments committee will meet on 29 June and discuss a recommendation for Andy Lewis, deputy chief executive and executive director for housing and growth to step into the role of interim chief executive when Alison Griffin leaves in July. The recruitment process for a new council chief executive has started.

Published: 8th June 2021

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