Shared Chief Executive delivering for residents

An independent review has found the decision by Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils to share a Chief Executive is delivering significant benefits for council taxpayers.

The review by the Local Government Association found the arrangement to share Jack Hegarty between both councils had saved £300,000 between them, while also improving services and making them more efficient.

The LGA was asked to independently scrutinise how the shared arrangement was working as it had been in place for almost two years. A single senior management team for both authorities was also created at the start of this year.

Managers and Council Leaders were interviewed as part of the review. The report's key findings included:

  • The Chief Executive is an effective communicator who continues to make an effort to engage with councillors and staff at both councils
  • Wychavon has continued to receive the leadership they were previously used to, while Malvern Hills has benefitted from improved relationships and an open approach
  • Undoing the shared Chief Executive arrangement would mean cuts to services at both authorities
  • Both councils had been able to learn from each other and improve efficiency and service delivery as a result
  • The arrangement should be seen as a model for other councils to follow rather than a short-term cost-cutting exercise

The report states: “The Chief Executive is seen as a very effective communicator who makes genuine efforts to engage with all councillors and staff. In many cases we received reports that despite covering both sites he was still highly accessible and operated a genuine open door policy. His skills in communicating and engaging effectively were seen as integral to the success of the new arrangements.”

Cllr Phil Grove, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: "I'm delighted this independent report has delivered such a clear endorsement of our decision to share a Chief Executive with Wychavon. Many of the concerns raised at the time about Malvern becoming a 'satellite authority' run from Wychavon and councillors losing their independence and control have simply failed to materialise and that is testament to the leadership skills of Jack and the commitment of our staff to make this work for the benefit of our residents."

Cllr Linda Robinson, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: "We promised at the time both councils would maintain their uniqueness and own identities and this report confirms we have succeeded in doing that, while delivering significant savings to the taxpayer without affecting frontline services. I'd like to pay tribute to Jack and his team for the hard work they have put in to make this arrangement a success and I look forward to it continuing in the future."