Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Hamilton council CE’s ‘big picture’ restructure gets underway

Hamilton City Council Chief Executive, Lance Vervoort, this week announced a number of staff changes as he works to restructure the organisation in readiness for local government reform.

The Council boss has reduced his number of direct report staff from 12 to eight and so far has appointed just three of those roles from within the existing senior team.

Current executive staff have been invited to apply for the remaining roles plus two specialised fixed-term positions focused on critical infrastructure.

Mr Vervoort has also reduced the number of groups within Council, and has created a standalone People, Performance and Culture group to focus on building a high performance culture. A new general manager role driving partnerships, communication and delivering on Te Tiriti has also been created. 

The Council CE, who has headed the organisation since 2021, says he will have the new structure in place by early July in time for the new financial year. He would not rule out further changes across the rest of the organisation once all general managers were in place.

Massive change within and impacting the sector, and significant financial pressures were behind the change, Mr Vervoort said.

“Three Waters Reform, along with RMA reform and change within local government itself, will have a major impact on our organisation,” he said.

“Change is coming and we must prepare for it. We can’t respond to a new world with an old structure. We have a responsibility to our community to build an organisation which is nimble, fit-for-purpose and ready for change.

He acknowledges significant financial pressures facing Council but said this was not about ‘cutting staff to cut costs’.

“This structure is not about cutting costs in the short-term, it’s about setting us up in the right way to deliver long-term financial sustainability. How we’re structured is one of the things we need to look at but there’s other things too – such as how we plan our programmes of work, and what systems, processes and technology we need in place to work more efficiently and effectively.

“We need to look at all the organisation as a whole, not roll out simplistic changes in isolation from the bigger picture.”

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