Lancashire County Council management restructure challenged

County Coun Geoff Driver
County Coun Geoff Driver

The Tory ruling group’s hopes of pushing through a management restructure at Lancashire County Council look set to be knocked back on Thursday.

The council has been advised it is at risk of acting illegally after Coun Alan Vincent presented a controversial jobs shake-up to Lancashire’s cabinet last week as an urgent item, with no legal advice for councillors or background detail.

The proposals, which put at risk senior management jobs and would see chief executive Jo Turton’s post replaced with a joint role of chief executive and director of resources, were discussed in private.

The cabinet agreed to appoint an interim chief executive and director of resources.

But County Coun Azhar Ali challenged the legality of the plans and lack of detail. It is understood he later sought legal advice and has warned the council the restructure report should not be considered at tomorrow’s full council meeting.

Senior council officers have also taken legal and financial advice. The council’s chairman will now be advised he should rule the full council’s consideration of the issue is “out of order”.

A confidential report to be circulated to councillors tomorrow warns if a decision is made on Thursday it will be unlawful and vulnerable to legal challenge. The management team recognises the cabinet is free to propose changes but proposals must be legal and there is not time to prepare a detailed report by Thursday. No comment was available from Council leader Coun Geoff Coun Driver (pictured). Liberal Democrat leader Coun David Whipp has branded the situation a “fiasco”.