Norwich council boss will provide cover in Great Yarmouth because of serious illness
06:30 16 January 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2013
A Norwich council leader will help provide temporary management cover for Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s chief executive who is seriously ill with cancer, it has emerged.
Jane Ratcliffe, who was appointed to the permanent post in January 2013, has not been at work full-time since late November, and is expected to remain on leave for the next three to six months to undergo treatment.
But last night Norwich City Council’s cabinet agreed to allow chief executive Laura McGillivray to provide cover for two days a week, initially for three months but for up to six months, while continuing in her existing post.
The cabinet, who were told the decision would not affect the day-to-day operation of the city council, approved the proposal which had been presented by city council leader Brenda Arthur as a matter of “urgent business” to be considered by the committee.
She said: “I don’t think we want to see a member of our local authority family struggling and it’s an opportunity for us to go and provide the kind of support we would like to think we would have if we were in the same position.”
The borough council’s cabinet met on Tuesday to decide how to provide cover during this period, and agreed that temporary part-time cover should be provided through a seconded chief executive.
The arrangement is set to come into effect from Monday.
Trevor Wainwright, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “Firstly, I and all the councillors and staff would like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jane Ratcliffe and her family during this very difficult time.
“In terms of the running of the borough council, Jane’s skills, experience and constant oversight have proved vital to its strategic success, and her absence is keenly felt at the town hall.”
He hoped the arrangement with the city council would allow the borough council to benefit from the “expertise and oversight” of an existing chief executive from a neighbouring council, with whom the borough council already has a “strong working relationship”.
He added: “And it would also enable the existing directors to continue to focus day-to-day on developing and delivering high quality services, rather than one director having to instead take on the chief executive’s duties full-time, which would require work to be covered by others further down the management structure.”