SICKNESS is above the expected levels at the borough council – and renewed efforts to manage it have not gone down well with all of the staff, according to the review team.

A Peer Challenge Team also noted that there is “general confusion” around the new approach to commissioning, and what it will mean to service delivery, and there was concern over some aspects of management.

The team’s summary report stated: “Given the longevity and age of staff in some key positions, we expected to see more in place as regards to succession planning.

“You are aware of the need to address this, and we were encouraged to see that the Aspire programme launched earlier this year aims to address, through an integrated framework, succession planning, talent management, and leadership/management development.

“In addition, a renewed focus on the softer skills of management has been recognised as necessary.”

The experts also pointed out: “We were told that the council has become too bureaucratic, process driven, and (there is) a feeling that command and control is the default position for managers to take.”