Back at the beginning of the year I announced changes to the senior officers of West Sussex County Council. The post of chief executive was removed and we created two short term posts – a chief operating officer and a transformation director.
This builds on the work that was underway for sometime to make fundamental changes to the way we work, concentrating around our 3 key priorities and supporting our communities to help themselves.
We are evolving as a County Council and we’re not alone in that. Other councils up and down the country are going through the same thing.
After 3 months the time is right to bring you up to date with what we have been doing.
We have a clear vision for West Sussex County Council which has been well received and understood. We need to make sure it is delivered for the benefit of the residents we serve.
You could say that local government is at a crossroads - grants are reducing year on year from central government, yet demand increases for our services and our customers’ expectations of us increase with that demand
We need to become a different kind of authority to meet the many challenges that face us.
At the heart of this change is our residents. Each and every person we serve, the people who pay their council tax month in and month out and who ask for effective, efficient services.
We have to become more commercial as an organisation, less reliant on government grants to fund us and we have to start investing more in the things that will help us to deliver our priorities of ensuring our children have the best start in life and are supported to achieve their potential, of growing our economy and ensuring there are jobs for our children and our children’s children, and supporting our elderly population to remain as independent as possible in later life.
We must make sure we continue to work with our partners and the different organisations and agencies out there because we can’t achieve what we need to alone. We must shift our focus to delivering the right outcomes for local people with the limited budget we have. And we have to make sure that we look after this beautiful, natural county that we are lucky enough to live and work in.
We do know what is important and what needs to be done.
As part of our evolution and to put us in the best possible position to deliver the best outcomes we have had to look at our management structure – like councils up and down the land are finding themselves doing.
It is vital that our structure is fit for purpose to deliver the changes we need now and in the future. Therefore, we feel some changes need to be made and this is what we are currently discussing.
I will say more about this when I can but what I want to assure you is that, whatever changes may be made to the management structure at West Sussex County Council in the future, all our staff are dedicated to doing the very best they can for the people of the county and our commitment to delivering the best services that we can will never change.
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