Questions raised over Thanet council’s parking department and staffing changes

Thanet council

Questions have been raised about the current situation of Thanet council’s parking department and possible staff redundancies within the authority.

In response to a claim that parking enforcement is to be outsourced to Kingdom officers due to changes within that department, the council’s deputy leader Cllr Lin Fairbrass posted to social media, saying: “I am unable to comment at this time as there is currently an ongoing investigation taking place.”

Cllr Fairbrass did not elaborate on the reason for that investigation.

According to the Kingdom website staff can carry out a parking enforcement role. Currently they do not provide this service in Thanet although they do have the contract for  littering and dog fouling enforcement on the isle.

A Thanet council spokesman said the authority could not comment on “internal staffing matters.”

Staffing changes

The question over the parking department situation has been raised at a time of staffing change within Thanet council.

The authority is undergoing a “corporate restructure,” which was revealed by The Isle of Thanet News in October when Thanet council’s Director of Community Services, Rob Kenyon, took voluntary redundancy from his role.

Members of the council’s General Purposes Committee  discussed proposed changes to the corporate structure at TDC last month.

This discussion was held in private and agenda papers for it are not publicly available but the posts under discussion were two chief officer and two deputy chief officer roles.

Representations were made by Helen Havercroft, head of growth and development, and Bob Porter, head of housing.

Members of the committee agreed a proposed senior management structure and changes to the roles under discussion.

It was also agreed to delegate to chief executive Madeline Homer “the process for recruitment and appointment to vacancies and that the budget strategy and draft budget will be drafted to reflect the removal of £814k base budget savings from the council’s residual staffing structure.”

Redundancies?

The Isle of Thanet News understands there have also been proposals for staff redundancies and the creation of some new roles as part of the restructure. This has not been confirmed by Thanet council. A spokesman for the authority said: “We’re not able to comment on the restructure, it’s an internal matter and confidential.”

A statement issued following the departure of Mr Kenyon did, however, confirm that a corporate restructure was being carried out due to the need for TDC to make savings of £2million per year.

In the statement Thanet council said: “As the East Kent merger did not materialise, the council needs to save an additional £2million per annum and Rob appreciates that delivering further efficiency savings will require significant restructuring.”

Currently there are four members of the TDC corporate management team; Chief Executive Madeline Homer; Director of operational services, Gavin Waite; Director of corporate governance, Tim Howes and Director of corporate resources, Tim Willis.

The Isle of Thanet News understands Gavin Waite has been offered an assistant chief executive role.

Overall TDC employs around 700 people.

Previous restructures

The last major restructure was in 2014 when Sue McGonigal was chief executive. She quit in January 2015 following a six-month absence. She was replaced by Madeline Homer.

Prior to that was the restructure in 2011 where Richard Samuels left the post of chief executive with a ‘golden handshake’ said to be in the region of £200,000 and handed the reigns to Dr McGonigal.

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