Who’s in charge?

By Blair McPherson | 21 October 2019

The outgoing chair has gifted the incoming chair with a new structure. A structure which aims to make the organisation ‘more innovative, faster at decision making and bolder’. If the big reorganisation falls flat who would the new chair fire? Not the chief executive since the new structure doesn’t employ anyone with that title. Nor will it be either of the executive directors previously responsible for the two businesses that make up the partnership because these posts have gone along with a third of the senior management posts. This leads to the question of who is in charge apart from the new chair?

This is at John Lewis  - one of those organisations local authorities are frequently encouraged to emulate /view as a model of good practice. I have worked in a local authority that replaced the chief executive with a post of head of paid services. I believe the aim in this case was for the new administration to send out a clear message that this was a member-led authority. All well and good until social services went into special measures and the inspectorate identified a lack of leadership (and they weren’t referring to the director of social services).

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