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DERBYSHIRE: Council spends thousands on new role

Council leader Barry Lewis
Council leader Barry Lewis

The county council has agreed to spend £37,000 each year by creating a new role to assist the Conservative leadership in key decision-making.

This comes as the authority enforces £12 million in cuts by the end of the year, to remain on track to axe £53 million by 2021.

The new role of support officer, put in place to assist the leader and cabinet members with key priorities and research, will cost the authority £36,873 a year.

The overall payout comes through a salary of £29,777 and “on-costs”, such as pension contributions, of £7,096.

The person hired to this role will also ensure that the leader and elected members have access to the information needed for key meetings and events.

Alongside this, their role will include “supervisory responsibility” of the elected members’ secretaries.

Councillor Barry Lewis, county council leader, said: “Every decision we make is set against the backdrop of savings we need to make.

“But the council must continue to operate and make decisions every day to provide services to local people, and the support officer will provide additional support to cabinet members as they work closely with chief officers to deliver the council’s work programme.

“The role will involve carrying out high quality research on a range of issues for cabinet members and assisting with the supervision of a team of secretarial support staff.”

This year’s county council budget, approved in February, totals £503 million. It includes £12 million in cuts.

This will be broken down into cutting £5.015 million from adult care; £2.946 million from children’s services; £2.865 million from economy, transport and environment; and £1.515 million from commissioning, communities and policy.

Among the cuts are £2.5 million from the learning disabilities service; £300,000 from school crossing patrols; £1.5 million cuts to early help for children and family services; £1 million from services for toddlers; and  £3 million from adult care.

A further £1 million will be saved by pulling subsidies for 26 bus route contracts and £1.6 million in plans to pass 20 of the council’s 45 libraries over to volunteers.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service