MID Devon District Council is reducing the size of its senior leadership team after agreeing to axe the role left by a retired director.

Councillors heard that following the retirement of Jill May, director of business improvement and operations, after the May elections, the remaining team took on extra responsibilities as part of an interim structure.

Chief executive Stephen Walford said the council had taken advice from the Local Government Association (LGA) about the move, which will leave him two directors and the monitoring officer as the authority’s most senior officials.

“The advice was sought to provide some external assurance to cabinet that the recommendations contained in our report were viable, sensible and achievable,” he said.

“As part of the LGA assistance, all four of the current leadership team were interviewed, with the feedback reflecting a set of ‘excellent relationships and remarkable collaboration’ across senior roles.”

Mr Walford told councillors at the recent cabinet meeting that a saving of roughly £25,000 had been made since the retired director’s departure, and that full-year savings would be reported in future when the council publishes the remuneration of officers who earn more than £50,000.

Deputy leader Simon Clist (Lib Dem, Upper Culm) questioned whether the same level of administrative support would remain, to ensure that remaining directors are able to manage their increased workload.

Mr Walford said he did “not envisage reducing that level of support”, and Cllr Josh Wright (Lib Dem, Silverton), said the interim period without a replacement for the retired director had proved a good test.

“I’m as comfortable as I can be that if there were going to be any red flags, we would have seen them by now and I would be bringing forward a different proposal,” he said.

Bradley Gerrard