A proposed management restructure at Reading Borough Council (RBC) will increase expenditure on senior management by more than £500,000 per year.

The council expects to offset this cost through reducing the use of agency, interim and consultancy staff, as well as an increased capacity and drive for income generation and efficiency programmes.

Councillor Lovelock, leader of the council, said: “It is spending to save and to make sure we deliver.

“We need to restructure in a number of areas. It is a better management structure for the current priorities.”

“If we get people that can drive changes that are needed that will mean that we are operating more efficiently.”

RBC's personnel committee will decide whether to approve the proposal tonight, subject to the outcome of a consultation with staff and trade unions.

The council now has three ‘arms-length’ companies: Reading Buses, Homes for Reading and Brighter Futures for Children, which has partly driven the restructure.

Cllr Lovelock said: “We need to be sure we are scrutinising them in the best way possible.”

RBC asked the Local Government Association (LGA) to undertake a study on current management arrangements 18 months ago.

The LGA found excessive layers of hierarchy, signs of poor role design and role overlap, a keen appetite for change from the bottom up, and a lack of prioritisation and employee performance management.

The restructure would increase the number of senior posts from 15 to 19, with salary expenditure rising by £524,000 to around £2.4m per year.

Changes include the re-focusing of directors to ‘executive directors’ and heads of services to assistant directors, as well as the introduction of two new deputy director posts.

RBC hopes to make savings through reduced use of agency and interim management, after spending over £5.5m on agency social workers in 2017/18.

The council leader added: “It is not easy because recruitment, particularly around social workers is a nationwide issue.

“It is gradually coming down but hopefully this will give it an even sharper focus.”

The Personnel Committee is also set to approve a new pay scale for council employees, three salary sacrifice schemes and a review of employment policies.