Senior adult services post axed to save taxpayers £100k

A top job at Cambridgeshire County Council has been cut – saving taxpayers more than £100,000 annually.

But the creation of a new post with responsibility for social care of both children and adults has sparked fears that youngsters could be put at increased risk, or overspends could spiral out of control.

The post of executive director for community and adult services was left vacant after the sudden death of Rod Craig in May. Despite  a recruitment process, no appointment was made.

Adrian Loades, previously the executive director for children’s and young people’s services, has taken on responsibility for adult social care, while executive environment director Alex Plant will oversee culture and adult learning.

Pat Harding, corporate director for customer service and transformation, is now in charge of libraries and community engagement.

Mr Craig earned £120,240 but it was thought a successor would have been paid less.

Cllr Paul Sales, Labour social care spokesman, said he believed separate dedicated officers were needed to oversee adult services – which is in line to get a £4.3 million boost from reserves to combat a massive overspend – and child safety.

Cllr Sales said: “People will not be convinced a cash saving was worthwhile if there is a childcare disaster.” He added the adult social care budget might run wildly out of control.

Mark Lloyd, the council’s chief executive, said the arrangement would be trialled over the next 18 months.

He said: “As we ask our staff and contractors to do more with less, senior management needs to lead by example.

“Following the tragic and sudden death of one of our senior managers, the rest of the senior team have committed to trialling over the next 18 months the division of his duties among ourselves.

“Residents would expect management to be squeezed harder than frontline services and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

Mr Lloyd, who took a 5 per cent pay cut to £186,167 earlier this year, said he was grateful to his colleagues for their “readiness to carry an even greater burden”.

Andy Allsopp, the council’s head of communications, has announced he will leave in the new year to take up a similar post in the London borough of Hounslow.