Here is what Malvern Hills District Council’s three party leaders had to say over the final decision to share a chief executive with Wychavon District Council:
David Hughes, leader of Malvern Hills District Council (Cons).
“Chances to take advantage when everything seems to fall into place come along rarely. It’s not a rush it’s an opportunity. This is something which has been looked at carefully over a period of time. The difficulty has been finding a partner.
“We want to do this now because uncertainty in this area could be extremely damaging. There is no proposal to get rid of any other senior management. It is about looking at our resources and making the best use of them.
“We already share a lot of resources at senior level and work closely with Wychavon.”
He warned the whole process would likely ‘collapse’ if there were any delays to agreeing the move. He reassured councillors would be made fully aware of any further restructuring of council staff.
Coun Hughes added: “We are extremely proud to be Malvern and I do not believe this council has no future if we agree to this.
“If we are part of a larger pool we will secure the future of Malvern Hills. This will improve our resilience and efficiencies to a point we can’t ignore. It would be reckless and negligent not to move forward with this.”
Julian Roskams, leader of the Democratic Group.
“It is an absolute outrage that this administration has been sitting on its hands for the last three years in terms of a senior management review, and now, as we enter the last year of the administration, it brings forward this single proposal with a reckless indifference to any alternatives.
“We should be under no illusion. This is not just a vote for a shared chief executive this is a vote for all heads of services and staff at every level, amalgamating the departments that deliver our services. This will inevitably mean substantial job cuts in Malvern, while services are relocated to Wychavon. Malvern will become a satellite centre of meetings of local councillors with the real power lying elsewhere.”
Coun Roskams described the Parliament funding as ‘shiny baubles’ dangled by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles. He also warned their would be inevitable conflicts of interest down the line.
“Some things once you have lost them are gone for good. There is no turning back with this,” he added.
“We are not suggesting there should be no change. We have been the loudest in urging there should be a radical reform.
“Why not take the time to do this properly?”
Tom Wells, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
“Malvern is special. What we look after in terms of our landscape is unique. I fundamentally disagree that we have so much in common with Wychavon.
“We are not Droitwich, we are Malvern, we are not Pershore we are Tenbury and we are not Broadway we are Upton upon Severn.
“This is a very serious prospect. This will revolutionise the way this council will operate in the future. It will lose its flexibility and inherent character.
“Malvern will be a poor relation to Wychavon. I see what’s in it for them but there is nothing in it for us.”
Coun Wells added there was a lot of ‘smoke and mirrors’ surrounding the bid for Government funding and accused the council of chasing ‘fools gold’ which it may regret in the future.
“If we want to look at our own management we can do that tomorrow we don’t have to wait for Wychavon,” he said.
“The Government is bribing us into a strange relationship.
“If this is agreed can the last person please close the door and put the lights out.”