Proposals for a new Chief Officer structure have been approved at a meeting of East Lothian Council.

The new structure is designed to ensure the Council has the leadership capacity to deliver on local priorities and develop increasingly efficient and effective high-quality services.

There will be no change in the overall number of Chief Officer roles. The new structure will achieve a flatter, more efficient and agile structure with clearly defined responsibilities for strategic and operational-decision making, and deliver a recurring saving of £28,000 per annum. A layer of management within the Council Management Team will be removed.

Key points:

  • The Executive Team, responsible for the Council’s overall strategic leadership and management, will comprise the Chief Executive and four Executive Directors one of whom will be the existing Director of the East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership. The other three Executive Directors will have responsibilities based broadly on Education and Children’s Services; Finance and Corporate Services; Infrastructure, Housing, Development and Communities.
  • The new Executive Director roles will replace two existing Depute Chief Executive posts – one of which is vacant while the other postholder is due to retire by the end of March 2021.
  • The wider Council Management Team will comprise nine Heads of Service, each of whom will report to an Executive Director.

There will be no changes to Health and Social Care Partnership roles.

The current Council Management Team structure consists of roles including Chief Executive, two Depute Chief Executives (the Executive Team) and a number of Heads of Service and Chief Operating Officers. There are currently a number of vacancies.

Chief Executive Monica Patterson said:

“Our priority is to ensure that East Lothian Council continues to have a senior leadership team with the talent, vision and capacity to think and act strategically, and engage with our communities and partners, to deliver the very best for East Lothian in dynamic and challenging circumstances.

“It remains a very difficult financial environment, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which means we must maintain the pace of transformation in continuing to deliver high-quality and efficient services.

“Continuing to embrace digital technology has significant potential to make it easier and more efficient to deliver services whilst benefitting our customers and communities.

“East Lothian is one of Scotland’s fastest growing areas. As well as having significant implications it presents opportunities to grow the local economy and increase prosperity.

“With a rising population we must focus on creating opportunities for young people, developing skills and employability.

“There is also a need for us to ensure East Lothian continues to have the required infrastructure to meet the needs of existing communities and our growing population, including transport networks and new or expanded schools.

“We have excellent relationships with our partners and communities and developing these will be key in the years ahead.

“Our re-structured Executive and Corporate Management Teams, supported by the fantastic work of all staff, means we will be positioned to address the significant challenges we face and continue delivering for East Lothian.”

Depute Council Leader Norman Hampshire said:

“For many years, the Council has been recognised as a high-performing local authority and benefited from the highly effective leadership of its Council Management Team, who are supported by committed and hard-working staff across the organisation.

“As well as the unprecedented demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are operating in an increasingly challenging financial environment.

“In building and supporting our existing and growing communities, it is essential that we keep a relentless focus on operating as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“With key sites such as the former Cockenzie Power Station and Blindwells there are huge opportunities for sustainable economic growth, while tackling priorities such as poverty and inequality.

“The City Region Deal, with will secure a £54 million investment in East Lothian over the next four years, presents another significant opportunity.

“We must also continue to address the challenges of climate change and reduce emissions.

“The new Council Management structure gives us a strong basis to build on, as we seek to navigate our way through these challenging times and look to the future.

“It means we will have a sharp focus on delivering the high-quality public services – including the best support for children, older and vulnerable people – on which our communities depend, and in an increasingly efficient and agile way.”

After Monica Patterson’s appointment as Chief Executive took effect earlier this year, it had been intended that proposals for a new Chief Officer structure would have been brought forward in the Spring.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken precedence in recent months, however, in the current climate there is a pressing need to ensure the Council Management Team has a full complement of members so that it has the capacity to manage the priorities of the council.


The proposed changes have been subject to consultation with affected staff and trades unions.

The posts in the new structure will be filled in accordance with the principles outlined in the Council’s Protocol for the Conduct of Service Reviews and Recruitment and Selection Policy.

An independent adviser will be appointed to provide guidance on the implementation of the new structure.

The timeline for appointments will be confirmed in due course.

Published: Monday, 2nd November 2020