Kirklees Council to spend on more big salaries for senior managers

Kirklees Council is to hire more senior staff.

Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive, Kirklees Council, who has spent nearly £500,000 on boosting her senior management team

The authority is looking to drive forward its cultural development aspirations by recruiting a Service Director for Culture and Visitor Economy.

It recently launched a major project to showcase the uniqueness of Kirklees as a tourist destination that appeals to visitors and locals alike.

A recent report revealed that Kirklees has not had a tourism strategy “for many years” and that it could be as long as ten years before the area can compete with attractions in neighbouring areas like the Piece Hall in Halifax and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield.

The council is also to split the role of strategic director for economy and infrastructure following the departure last year of Karl Battersby.

Mr Battersby, who joined Kirklees from Wigan in 2018, had responsibility for all front-line environmental services, planning, regeneration and development functions, the capital programme and all council land and property assets.

His position came with a salary band of £115,000 to £134,999. Those responsibilities have been divided into two new roles.

David Shepherd handles growth and regeneration. Colin Parr handles environment and climate change.

Both men were in post by the end of September last year.

The directorate run by Mr Parr will take on Kirklees’ museums, galleries and markets along with catering and cleaning services.

Mr Shepherd will oversee the transfer back to the council of Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), the arms-length management organisation (ALMO) that has run the council’s properties since 2002.

The KNH change-over is set to take place on April 1.

Further changes will be required at Head of Service level and will be considered at a later date, once the senior appointments have been made.

Over the last two years the council has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds recruiting senior managers on the orders of Chief Executive Jacqui Gedman.

In 2010 the authority reduced its heads of service from seven to three.

It also drastically cut its assistant directors as part of a redundancy programme that saw its non-school workforce fall from 11,200 to 9,700 in the face of widespread spending reductions demanded by the government.

Ms Gedman said the cuts had gone “too far” and that the council needed more staffing to heal top team cutbacks.