WYCHAVON District Council is in talks with Malvern Hills District Council about sharing a joint chief executive.
The possible move has been touted as a cost saving measure and concerns Chris Bocock, chief of executive at Malvern and Jack Hegarty, managing director at Wychavon, who both earn individually between £100,000 and £107,004 a year.
There has been speculation for weeks that discussions were taking place, but the matter was aired publicly for the first time at Malvern’s annual council meeting last Tuesday, May 13.
Democratic councillor Anthony Warburton raised the issue during leader’s questions claiming ‘detailed consideration’ had taken place and whoever was appointed to the joint role would devote ‘about two days’ a week to Malvern business.
He called for a review of the council’s management structure before the proposal was considered further.
“This is so important it should be discussed at the earliest opportunity at a full council meeting.” he added.
Wychavon chiefs confirmed ‘informal’ discussions between Malvern leader Coun David Hughes and Wychavon’s leader Coun Paul Middlebrough had begun.
Coun Middlebrough said: “We have a long history of working together and sharing a significant number of services already, so these discussions feel like a logical step in the right direction.”
Coun Hughes said: “We have been talking to colleagues in other councils where there are similar arrangements.
“This demonstrated to us that it is worth consideration by our respective councils and we are preparing proposals for discussion and debate.
“Also we have been encouraged by comments from the Local Government Minister, Brandon Lewis.”
Both councils have targets for further cost savings in the coming years, as part of wider reductions in public spending, and this would be a significant contribution to those savings, whilst forging stronger relationships between both councils.
Officers and members at both councils have been informed of the discussions.
Whilst there are no details available at this early stage, a guarantee that each council will keep its independent identity has been confirmed.