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Chief exec and deputy to share job - six months at a time each

'Novel' move is expected to save PCC some £80,000 a year
Published - 2018-10-25 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle

Two police and crime commissioner office managers will share the jobs of chief executive and deputy – swapping roles every six months.

When the previous chief executive retired last year, Cumbria PCC Peter McCall asked his head of partnerships Vivian Stafford and head of communications and business services Gill Shearer to act as CEO and deputy CEO on a rotating basis – on top of their normal duties.

The experiment worked so well, according to the Conservative, that he decided to make the arrangement permanent.

It is expected to save his office more than £80,000 a year.

Cumbria Police and Crime Panel documents stated: “It is the commissioner’s opinion that the arrangement has operated successfully over the last year, provides essential resilience in a small office, has flattened the hierarchy making it more effective and delivers savings to the public purse.”

PCC legislation says a chief executive and monitoring officer must be the same person but “does not specifically preclude” the role being held by more than one person, the papers noted.

The documents added: “Whilst the arrangement to effectively share the chief executive post on the basis described herein may be novel, it reflects the need to think flexibly about the structure of the OPCC and, above all, to deliver best value to the public of Cumbria.”  

Ms Stafford and Ms Shearer will be paid £73,214 each. The pair have not had a significant pay rise.

Asked by Police Oracle about the concept, police and crime panel vice-chairman Helen Fearon welcomed it.

She said: “That an elected politician, managing a large budget, should come up with an original idea that provides a substantial saving to the public purse and improves efficiency and effectiveness may be, to quote your word, ‘unusual’. 

“Nevertheless this arrangement had done just that. 

“It has flattened out the structure of the OPCC, provides far greater flexibility in a small team, works well on a daily basis and saved around £81,000 of tax payers’ money.”

The Conservative county councillor added: “It's a statutory necessity that PCCs have a chief executive. But there is no reason why they can't be innovative about how they do so if there is a better alternative.

“As a small force Cumbria Police have never been afraid to lead the way. We have a PCC to match.”

Mr McCall said: "I accept the arrangement may be novel, as budgets continue to be challenging we have to be prepared to be novel and if necessary take a risk.   

"I am more interested on getting things done and I came into this job to deliver on support to policing not to maintain bureaucracy - we can all do with less of that.”

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