Workforce Planning in the Local Government Sector September 2012.

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1 Workforce Planning in the Local Government Sector September

2 Table of Contents 1. Overview and summary recommendations 1.1 Terms of reference 1.2 Study Influences 1.3 Data Analysis 2. Overview of Grades 2.1 Director of Service 2.2 Senior Executive Officer /Senior Engineer and Analogous 2.3 Administrative Officer and Analagous 2.4 Senior Executive Engineer and Analogous 2.5 Remaining grades 2.6 Timeframe for implementation 3. Span of control Grading structure below Administrative officer 4. Outdoor Staff 5. Recruitment Retraining and Retention Appendices A. Workforce Planning Group Membership B. Tabular Representation of Recommended Staff Numbers. 2

3 1. Workforce planning in the Local Government Sector - Overview and summary recommendations In the context of the national economic crisis, successive Governments have, since 2008, sought to reduce public expenditure, and in turn public sector numbers in order to meet budgetary targets agreed with our European and International funding partners. In essence, the National Recovery Plan commits to a reduction in public sector numbers from 320,000 to 282,500 by 2015, and an associated reduction of 3.5bn in the public sector pay-bill. In this context, the Government put in place an Employment Control Framework with sectoral targets, including the Local Government sector, in addition to placing a moratorium on staff recruitment and the introduction of incentivised early retirement and career break schemes, the former being targeted at employees over the age of 50. The employment control framework for the Local Government sector seeks to achieve a graduated reduction in numbers from the 37,243 employed in June 2008 to 29,480 by the 31 st December The aforementioned targets together with the moratorium obviously require substantial reorganisation, restructuring, redeployment and reassignment of staff in order to ensure the continued delivery of frontline and legally based local government services, ranging from basic housing provision to emergency protection. Sectoral commitment to this process was reinforced in the finalisation of the public sector agreement, which gave employees assurances with regard to no further paycuts or forced redundancies in return for staff co-operation with the aforementioned significant restructuring and reorganisation required to achieve the significant Employment Control Framework (ECF) targeted reductions. Separately, but in the same context, the Government, as part of the 2010 budgetary process established the Local Government Efficiency Group to review the cost base, expenditure and numbers employed in local authorities with a view to making specific recommendations to reduce these costs. The Review Group reported in July 2010, and made specific recommendations with regard to reductions in senior and middle management across technical and administrative grades, together with reductions in planning, corporate service and outdoor staff. 3

4 While the recommendations in this report are more specific than the overall reduction required by the ECF, both are relevant in the context of this workforce planning exercise. Progress to Date Significant and credible progress has been made by the local authorities in the context of the Employment Control Framework. The number employed across all 34 local authorities at the end of June 2008 was 37,243 which at the 31 st March 2012 stood at 28,811, being a reduction of 8,432 or 22.6%. This figure exceeds the ECF target for 2015 by 669 which in itself is a cause for reflection. The process to date, in the context of this very significant reduction, has been carefully managed at local level through a continuous process of adjustment, restructuring, reassignment and redeployment, with the full co-operation of staff, as envisaged in the Public Service Agreement. In addition, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government has judiciously operated its delegated sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to facilitate the targeted replacement of staff in key service areas such as Water and Fire Services where specific exemptions are available subject to appropriate applications being made. This delegated sanction process was assisted through the operation of a Transition Working Group which acted as a point of reference for sectoral queries etc. Overall, the process, including the exit of just under 1,000 staff from the sector in the first three months of 2012, was successfully managed. In terms of the recommendations of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group, a separate implementation, review and reporting process is in place, but for the purpose of this particular study, it is worth noting that: This Report sets out specific recommendations with regard to achieving the target envisaged for the reduction in the number of Directors of Service. Targets are also set for senior and middle management that will both comply with the ECF and exceed the expectations of the Local Government Efficiency Review Group in monetary terms. 4

5 In order to achieve the LGER Report recommendation concerning the need to shrink the span of control. Rather than simply replace middle management grades with staff at one grade below, the Workforce Planning Group take the view that the overall grading structure should be flattened with a gradual phasing out of the Senior Staff Officer grade. This together with the overall reduction in staff numbers will deal with the span of control issues and produce the optimum outcome. In relation to outdoor staff numbers, while the monetary value of the reductions envisaged by the Efficiency Review Group report have long been surpassed, this report recommends a more detailed analysis of outdoor staff numbers in the context of serious concerns with regard to the age profile of outdoor staff, and the capacity of individual local authorities to meet statutory and frontline service obligations and expectations. Need for Workforce Planning. It was the view of the sector, that notwithstanding the successful management of the transition process, and the apparent success of having exceeded ECF expectations, the entire process has impacted significantly on the sector, and is likely to have an ongoing impact in capacity, morale and delivery terms unless certain matters are addressed. It was in this context that on the 15 th September 2011, the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government and the County and City Managers Association effectively mandated the Transition Working Group to carry out this workforce study, bearing in mind the following:- The departure of in excess of 8,000 staff from the sector over a three year period has inevitably given rise to an unequal distribution of impacts in the context of the range, age, capability and skill-set of staff leaving the various constituent organisations within the sector. The loss of human capital, with particular reference to the number of senior staff who departed on foot of the incentivised early retirement scheme does give rise to issues in the context of loss of corporate knowledge, experience and organisational capacity and diversity. While exceeding the ECF metric is a considerable achievement at one level, it must be borne in mind that the extent of statutory based service provision and associated legal obligations undertaken by local authorities has not diminished. While consumer 5

6 demand patterns may have relaxed in certain areas, the overall statutory responsibility of the sector to provide coherent robust and safe public services remains. The sector has also gained new responsibilities through requirements under environmental legislation, Environmental Protection Agency requirements and Health and Safety requirements. The sector will also be expanding its work in certain areas e.g. in local enterprise support through the new Local Enterprise Offices etc. The retirement of senior staff and the absence of recruitment of any significance over a five year period hastens the requirement to examine the present and future workforce demographic in the context of organisational diversity, knowledge transfer, upskilling/reskilling and succession planning, together with the issue of recruitment in the short term. The continued dedication and co-operation of staff remaining within the sector, while anticipated should not be presumed, as the additional burden and workload associated with re-organisation and consolidation of workloads in terms of impact on staff may be further exacerbated in the absence of planning for the future. It must be remembered that the continued delivery of the reform agenda will rest with, and remains the responsibility of, these staff members. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the financial realities facing our economy means that there is a continued likelihood of the need to do more with less, which in turn will give rise to the need for further consolidation, restructuring, redeployment and remodelling of how work is done. In this context, it is critically important that we have the right people with the right skills in the right place to deal with this ongoing challenge. Study Approach With the assistance of the CCMA Programme Management Office, The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Office of Local Authority Management (OLAM) the Workforce Planning Group had available to it, extensive data on the make-up of employment within the Local Authority Sector on a grade by grade basis, together with substantial data on age profiles across the sector. Notwithstanding the availability of this core data, it became very evident to the group from the outset, that the diverse and dynamic nature of the sector would render specific 6

7 recommendations on employment numbers on a grade by grade basis (below middle management level) meaningless. In particular the Group had regard to: The dynamic operational environment that exists in the context of current economic conditions which is likely to persist in the short to medium term. Imminent plans for the publication of local government reform proposals, with specific reference to structures and functions, will no doubt have implications for staff structures and skill-sets into the future. The ongoing reform agenda is consistently re-formatting, re-envisaging and delivering on new models of service delivery, predicated around shared services, the exploitation of ICT and procurement aggregation opportunities. The remodelling of service provision within this context will have an ongoing impact on the design of supporting staff structures. The diverse nature of local government in terms of the existing structures involving regional, county and town authorities has not surprisingly given rise to substantial variations in staff numbers. These variations have been further exacerbated by the existence of geographic variations, the nature and extent of capital investment programmes, the extent of social infrastructure and associated staff provision, dedicated regional solutions, pilot initiatives supported by the Department(s), and specific services such as Parks Departments supported in the larger local authorities. In addition, the larger local authorities, by virtue of the complexity of their operational environments, or the extent to which they have posts justified by economies of scale, such as legal departments, architectural departments, quantity surveying etc. further adds to the diversity and variation of staffing complements throughout the sector. While significantly reduced capital expenditure activity immediately suggests spare capacity in this area, it is important to reflect on the need to retain core competencies in these areas which remain fundamental to local authority service provision. The augmentation of the skill-set associated with capital activity to meet current and future challenges, while retaining the core competencies, will ensure that the capacity of the sector is not further compromised. Over the course of the last decade, a significant number of one-off/specialised positions were created, particularly in the areas of community development and social inclusion associated with specific government initiatives and pilot programmes. While the 7

8 ongoing work associated with these posts remains relevant and significant, it is not sustainable to have these posts as stand alone, and their inter-changeability with main stream functions must be addressed in the context of organisational capacity and flexibility. While the Workforce Planning Group has carried out a high level review of staff numbers and made appropriate recommendations, it is mindful of the need to incorporate flexibility in its recommendations to facilitate the role and responsibility of local authority management in the context of Section 159 of the Local Government Act Ultimately, the legal responsibility for the delivery of local services rests with local management, and a degree of flexibility in determining staff structures to support that responsibility must be retained. In the context of the foregoing, the Group saw little value in making specific rigid recommendations on workforce numbers that might prove either over-ambitious or incapable of implementation. Instead, the Group has set out targeted banded structures across middle and senior management grades that local authorities must align themselves to over as short as possible a timeframe in consultation with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The sectoral diversity previously referred to, and the need for local flexibility strongly suggests to the Group that any evaluation and recommendation on numbers below that of Administrative Officer would not be appropriate or effective. The Group is of the opinion that each individual organisation conduct its own workforce planning exercise, bearing in mind the core principles set out in this study. The Group is particularly concerned that there remains a substantial number of outdoor workers likely to retire in the short term, and that a clear Generation Gap is emerging due to the absence of recruitment which is referred to later in this report. Retraining and Recruitment The issue of recruitment and retraining is dealt with in more detail in the body of the report, but is a significant issue, if the sector is to manage and cope with ongoing organisational adjustment and future requirements. In particular, immediate financial realities will give rise in the short 8

9 term to a continued need for retraining, upskilling and knowledge transfer to facilitate staff in coping with rotation, redeployment, and reassignment. A comprehensive Training Needs Analysis (consistent with corporate priorities, PMDS and competency framework) together with an associated workforce planning exercise within each organisation will facilitate the anticipation of future skills, and the deployment of training programmes, which will underpin future flexibility and facilitate job rotation and deployment. In addition it is recommended that the IPA be commissioned to produce a research paper on the present and future capacity issues within the Local Government sector. The retention of quality staff and the core competencies which they have developed and retained is a core issue for the ongoing and future capacity of the Local Government sector. While certain elements of these skills may not be in high demand at present, they should be supplemented and retained in the full knowledge that the core functions of Local Government will remain into the future Summary Recommendations. The key recommendations of this report include: 1. The establishment by individual local authorities of appropriate timeframes for aligning their organisation to the banded structure for senior and middle management as set out in this report. 2. A fundamental re-evaluation of the roles of analogous grades/specialist posts needs to be undertaken in the context of establishing their inter-changeability within the sector in order to optimise opportunities for reassignment in the interests of organisational flexibility. 3. Agreement should be reached on the gradual phasing out of the Senior Staff Officer position in the interests of grading consolidation, optimisation of the span of control, and achieving a more sustainable staffing structure into the future. 4. There is a need for further assessment and clear agreement on ongoing and future workforce capabilities and capacity which will be greatly assisted by the proposed IPA research paper referred to earlier. 9

10 5. To facilitate ongoing organisational flexibility, and allocation of responsibility, each organisation needs to conduct a fundamental Training Needs Analysis to address immediate skills needs. 6. Each constituent local authority needs to carry out a more detailed workforce planning exercise, with particular reference to outdoor staff structures, bearing in mind the continual need to provide essential frontline services and to fulfil legislative requirements. 7. There is an urgent requirement for a quantum of graduate entry level recruitment in the interests of organisational diversity, minimising inter-generational deficits, and a more balanced workforce demographic. 8. The workforce plan should be reviewed in due course as the recommendations are implemented. The initial review to take place in 1 st quarter Terms of Reference The Group was mandated to analyse available data, draw conclusions and make recommendations with regards to: How the recommendations contained in the LGER report with particular reference to senior and middle management might be addressed. The impact on local authorities of the staff recruitment moratorium, the incentivised early retirement scheme and the ECF. The current and short term workforce demographics in the context of maintaining a workforce equipped to meet ongoing organisational and sectoral requirements including succession planning. 1.2 Study Influences The diverse nature of local government in terms of structures, functions, socio economic backdrop, topography and financial capacity together with the dynamic operating environment which currently prevails undermines any attempt at universal one size fits all type solutions to work force planning within the sector. This position is supported the following additional considerations 10

11 Notwithstanding the fact that staff numbers have already fallen by 22.6% further progress is required in the context of the LGER recommendations and the prevailing economic circumstances which will continue to influence employment patterns in the medium term. Imminent plans for the publication of local government reform proposals, with specific reference to structures and functions, will no doubt have implications for staff structures and skill-sets into the future. The ongoing reform agenda is consistently re-formatting, re-envisaging and delivering on new models of service delivery, predicated around shared services, the exploitation of ICT and procurement aggregation opportunities. The remodeling of service provision within this context will have an ongoing impact on the design of supporting staff structures. In particular the sector under the guidance of the local government reform oversight group and with the assistance of the project management office is undertaking business case evaluations for 31 shared service projects. These initiatives together with the ICT shared services agenda are expected to yield efficiencies, require virtual or remote working and require redeployment to lead authorities. This is envisaged by The Public Service Agreement 2010 to 2014 which seeks to maintain excellence in public services in the context of reduced resources by maximising efficiency and productivity in the use of resources through revised work practices. The Agreement specifically states that the public service will need to be re-organised and public bodies and individual public services will have to increase their flexibility and mobility to work together across sectoral, organisational and professional boundaries. (Section 1.1) The Agreement allows for appropriate arrangements to redeploy staff within and across each sector of the public sector (Section 1.7). Within existing structures there are substantial variations in staff numbers determined by geographic variations, the nature and extent of capital investment programmes, the extent of social infrastructure and associated staff provision, dedicated regional solutions, pilot initiatives supported by the Department, and specific services such as Parks Departments supported in the larger local authorities. In addition, the larger local authorities, by virtue of the complexity of their operational environments, or the extent to which they have posts justified by economies of scale, such as legal departments, 11

12 architectural departments, quantity surveyors etc further adds to the diversity and variation of staffing complements throughout the sector. Over the course of the last decade, a significant number of one-off/specialised positions were created, particularly in the areas of community development and social inclusion associated with specific Government initiatives and pilot programmes. While the ongoing work associated with these posts remains relevant and significant, it is not sustainable to have these posts as stand alone, and their inter-changeability with main stream functions must be addressed in the context of organisational capacity and flexibility. While the Group has carried out a high level review of staff numbers and made appropriate recommendations, it is mindful of the need to incorporate flexibility in its recommendations to facilitate the role and responsibility of local authority management in the context of Section 159 of the Local Government Act Ultimately, the legal responsibility for the delivery of local services rests with local management, and a degree of flexibility in determining staff structures to support that responsibility must be retained. The Group also recognises that local authority staff numbers will also be influenced by the Government decision to establish Irish Water as a state owned public utility within the Bord Gáis Eireann Group. In the context of the foregoing, the Group saw little value in making specific rigid recommendations on workforce numbers that might prove either over-ambitious or incapable of implementation. Instead, the Group has set out targeted banded structures across middle and senior management grades that local authorities must align themselves to over as short as possible a timeframe in consultation with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. 1.3 Data analysis The Group used the most up to date data sets including the quarterly staffing returns submitted by each local authority to the DOECLG. In order to make the detailed recommendations a detailed staffing survey was carried out identifying the grade and job title of every staff member within each local authority. 12

13 In addition the Office of Local Authority Management completed a detailed age profile analysis which is fundamental to recommendations in relation to succession planning, short term recruitment and outdoor staff. The data available was used to inform the recommendations of the group with the following exceptions: Dublin and Cork City councils are not included in the analysis as they are the subject of separate workforce planning exercises in accordance with the LGER report. The recommendations for the ongoing and proposed merging of authorities in Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford are based on pooled populations and should not be viewed as prejudicial to ongoing independent assessments in each case. The particular historical evolution of the Cork County organisational model was discussed at length and given the scale of operation and the size of the county the group concluded that it did not have an appropriate comparator and as such figures contained herein were arrived at following direct discussions with Cork County. Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown County Council was until the 2006 census grouped with Fingal and South Dublin and would have had similar staffing compliments determined at the time of the break-up of Dublin County. Its subsequent grouping with Meath and Kildare gives rise to distortions in comparison which the group concluded was capable of misinterpretation. In this context an average between the two bands is deemed more appropriate. As outlined above the group opted for a series of recommendations around banded arrangements to allow flexibility and give recognition to the inherent variations around the country for the reasons already outlined. The banded structure used is the long standing grouping structure used for management purposes 13

14 Local Authorities are categorised as follows: Level 5 Local Authorities: Carlow County Council, Cavan County Council, Laois county Council, Leitrim County Council, Longford County Council, Monaghan County Council, Offaly County Council, Roscommon County Council, Sligo County Council, North Tipperary County Council, Waterford County Council, Galway City Council and Waterford City Council. Level 4 Local Authorities: Clare County Council, Donegal County Council, Galway County Council, Kerry County Council, Kilkenny County Council, Limerick County Council, Louth County Council, Mayo County Council, SouthTipperary Council, Westneath County Council, Wexford County Council, Wicklow County Council and Limerick City Council. Level 3 Local Authorities: Cork City Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (DLR) County Council, Kildare County Council and Meath County Council. Level 2 Local Authorities: Cork County Council, Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council. Level 1 Local Authorities: Dublin City Council. 2. Overview of Grades 2.1 Director of Service: (See Appendix 2) Local authority senior management is generally made up of the City or County Manager, Directors of Service and a Head of Finance (at Director of Service level). At the peak of local authority numbers in mid-2008 there were 262 Directors of Service (there were some atypical 14

15 posts in Dublin City Council and Cork County Council). During the intervening period the numbers have contracted considerably to 203 Directors of Service (DoS) at present. The reduction has been achieved through the consolidation of DoS numbers and the associated consolidation in local authority organisational structures i.e. fewer directorates. In effect the work of departing directors has been absorbed by those remaining. The members of the Group work in a range of local authorities throughout the Country and have experience of working in many other local authorities. The Group is representative of local authorities at all levels and across the rural and urban divide. After careful analysis of the data on an individual and group basis the group concluded that: Given the size of financial budgets dealt with and the reporting and governance requirements each local authority generally may require a Head of Finance, unless other local arrangements are agreed, Given the complexity and diversity of the functions carried out by local authorities the potential to amalgamate directorates such as housing, environment (water and waste), planning, community, enterprise/economic development, emergency services, charge collection, heritage, franchise, motor tax etc. two is the minimum number of Directors of Service required i.e. two Directors plus a Head of Finance is generally the minimum requirement. 1. In relation to level 5 local authorities currently they employ between 2 and 4 Directors with the main grouping at 3. The group has concluded that between 2 and 3 Directors (plus a Head of Finance) would be optimal for this level of local authority. 2. For level 4 local authorities the numbers at Director range from 2 to 6 with the main grouping at 4 to 5. The Group concluded that between 3 and 4 Directors (plus a Head of Finance) would be optimal for authorities in this category. 3. In the case of Level 3 - Meath and Kildare have 4 Directors, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown has 7 and Cork City has 7 at Director level. The Group recommends that generally 15

16 between 4 and 5 Directors (plus a Head of Finance) is optimal for this category of local authority. 4. The current position at Level 2 is South Dublin and Fingal have 6 Directors. The Group concluded that between 5 and 6 Directors (plus a Head of Finance) was optimal for both South Dublin and Fingal given the scale of the operations and the large urban elements of their functions. 5. Cork County Council has 11 at or above Director level. The particular historical evolution of the Cork organisational model was discussed at length and given the scale of the operation and the size of the County it was concluded that the reduction of 3 (based on the LGER Report figures) was appropriate. In relation to amalgamations, ongoing and proposed, in Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford the Group has calculated the potential number of Directors based on the recommendations in relation to local authorities of equivalent size. This is essentially a pending position and should not be viewed as prejudicial to ongoing discussions in all three cases. In conclusion the Group is satisfied that the recommendation of the LGERG with reference to the number of Director of Service posts (Target 190) can be achieved. This target reduction should almost be reached even if all local authorities sought the maximum recommended number which the Group deems highly unlikely. Under current circumstances the timeframe for the achievement of the target reduction is a function of the age profile of Directors of Service and the associated retirement profile. 2.2 Senior Executive Officer/Senior Engineer and Analogous: The Group, in coming to conclusions, on this cohort had regard, in particular to those influences set out in section 1.2 of the report. 1. The group concluded, taking the above into account, that the following ranges should apply in respect of the different levels of local authorities as follows: o Level 4 and 5: between 9 and 13 (currently the range is between 8 and 17). 16

17 o o Level 3:- Meath and Kildare between 11 and 15 (currently 12 and 23), Dun- Laoghaire Rathdown between 17 and 20 (currently 25). Level 2:- South Dublin and Fingal between 20 and 24 (currently 32 and 29) Cork County between 25 and 35 (currently 45). 2. These ranges should have at their core a number of Senior Executive Officers, Senior Engineer and Analogous and Financial/Management Accountant posts. 3. In determining the posts that each local authority requires within the specified ranges due regard should be had to the potential for shared services in areas such as, inter alia, Fire Services, Library, ICT, HR (incl. payroll and superannuation), Finance, Planning and Procurement. In this regard, the sectors shared services action plan will be of assistance. 4. The Group accepts that outside the recommended specified ranges for this cohort there may exist, in certain local authorities, posts which require further discussion with the Department on a bi-lateral basis. These include, inter alia, Legal Advisor, Senior Parks Superintendent, Senior Quantity Surveyor, County Architect and Senior Resident Engineers. 5. Where, at local authority level, retirements give rise to a disproportionate distribution of disciplines in the short term, this will be considered in the context of any consequential request to cover/fill vacancies on a short to medium term basis. 6. It was agreed that posts in individual local authorities in respect of existing shared services such as NRDO Offices, River Basin Managers, County Coroners, Directors of Regional Authorities and Regional Communications Managers should be excluded from the numbers of the employing local authority for the purposes of this analysis. Likewise consideration will have to be given to the future of existing water project teams. 2.3 Administrative Officer and Analagous. The Group dealt with Senior Executive Engineers and Analogous separately as the Group concluded that the grades were not as inter-changeable as those at SEO and SE. 17

18 The Group, in coming to conclusions, on this cohort had regard, in particular to the current work load and operating environment including the number and scale of town councils, the prevalence of area management structures, the prospect for shared services and the need for inter changeability of posts: 1. The group concluded, taking the foregoing into account, that the following ranges should apply in respect of the different levels of local authorities as follows: a. Level 5: between 7 and 10 (max 15) (currently the range is between 12 and 24). b. Level 4:- between 11 and 15 (max 20) (currently the range is between 19 and 34). c. Level 3:- Meath and Kildare between 16 and 20 (max 25) (currently 26 and 27) Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown between 20 and 25 (max 32) (currently 42). d. Level 2:- South Dublin and Fingal between 25 and 32 (max 40) (currently 50 and 42) Cork County between 25 and 35 (max 40) (currently 50). 2. In determining the posts that each local authority requires within the specified ranges due regard should be had to the potential for shared services in areas such as, inter alia, Fire Services, Library, ICT, HR (incl. payroll and superannuation), Finance, Planning and Procurement. In this regard, the sectors shared services action plan will be of assistance. 3. The Group notes that outside the recommended specified ranges for this cohort there currently exist in local authorities posts which while required at present may not be required at all or in such numbers in the future, particularly if shared services are to be achieved. 4. The Group also recognises that numbers required at this level will also be influenced by proposed reforms to the number and structure of Town Councils. 5. The Group accepts that outside the recommended specified ranges and the posts identified above there may exist, in certain local authorities, posts which require further discussion with the Department on a bi-lateral basis. These include, inter alia, Planning 18

19 Policy and Research Officer, Partnership Facilitator, Housing Social and Community Coordinator, Rapid Co-ordinator, Facilities Manager, Archivist, Museum Curator and Arts Manager, Tourism Officer, Communications Officer, Sports Coordinator, Environmental Awareness Officer and Recreation Officer. 6. For the foregoing reasons the Group recommends that there be a normal range of optimum recommended numbers in each local authority and also a maximum that takes account of the aforementioned variations but still sets an overall limit. 7. Where, at local authority level, retirements give rise to a disproportionate distribution of administrative support at grade vii in the short term this will be considered in the context of any consequential request to cover/fill vacancies on a short to medium term basis.. 8. If a local authority is above the maximum optimum level it will need to examine the numbers above the maximum in conjunction with the Department. 9. A fundamental requirement in arriving at sustainable level of employment will be that all posts will need to become Inter-changeable. 2.4 Senior Executive Engineers and Analogous: The Group, in coming to conclusions, on this cohort had regard, in particular to the number and scale of town councils, the number of engineering areas, the extent of the capital programme, the geographical mass of counties and issues such as coastline. 1. The group concluded, taking the above into account, that the following ranges should apply in respect of the different levels of local authorities as follows: a. Level 5: between 7 and 10 (max 12) (currently the range is between 8 and 22). b. Level 4:- between 12 and 15 (max 18) (currently the range is between 13 and 24). c. Level 3:- Meath and Kildare between 18 and 22 (max 25) (currently 22 and 33) Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown between 25 and 30 (max 35) (currently 50). 19

20 d. Level 2:- South Dublin and Fingal between 30 and 35 (max 40) (currently 22 and 44) Cork County between 35 and 50 (max 56) (currently 78). 2. It was agreed that posts in individual local authorities in respect of existing shared services such as NRDO Offices and temporary professional staff carrying out specific and discreet capital projects should be excluded from the numbers of the employing local authority for the purposes of this analysis. 3. Once again the group recommends that there be a normal range of optimum recommended numbers in each local authority and also a maximum that takes account of the aforementioned variations but still sets an overall limit. 2.5 Remaining Grades The sectoral diversity previously referred to, and the need for local flexibility strongly suggests to the Group that any evaluation and recommendation on numbers below that of Administrative Officer would not be appropriate or effective. Given the recommendation in terms of the phasing out of the SSO grade the Group recommends, that each individual local authority, conduct its own workforce planning exercise, bearing in mind the core principles set out in this study for all grades below Administrative Officer and SEE and analogous. 2.6 Timeframe for implementation The group is conscious that while the targeted reductions are achievable the age profile and distribution of staff is likely to give rise to variable timeframes and uneven impacts if left to natural retirements alone. It may be necessary to fully explore the potential to redistribute the numbers of directors and other senior grades across the system through redeployment. This arrangement has been successfully utilised in the sector. However, given the geographical constrains on the redeployment mechanism it is unlikely that sectoral anomalies can be corrected using this mechanism alone. Each local authority will in discussion with the DoECLG determine how best to meet the targets set out in this plan and in the shortest possible time frame. 20

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