A U-TURN has been performed by health chiefs on proposals to move from two heads of adult services to one.

Christina West, outgoing Chief Officer of Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), has now recommended to retain two heads of adult services with a new geographical split.

The HSCP’s integration joint board (IJB) discussed the proposals last week as the Advertiser went to press.

At the IJB’s previous meeting, in May, concerns were expressed about the plans to have one head of adult services with the support of a deputy.

Ms West, who is due to leave her post next month having tendered her resignation in June, said: “This has been further considered and the recommended way forward is to retain two heads of adult services with a reassessed geographical split and a focus on portfolio management aligned with the areas of focus for service redesign.

“This reconfiguration of roles will address a number of concerns with the current structure and provide the capacity required for leadership, change management and improved communication and support for integrated managers across Argyll and Bute HSCP.

“One of the heads of service will have a specific responsibility for social work professional leadership, demonstrating the organisational value placed on this staff group’s distinct contribution by investing in a professional leadership structure which supports them.

“The most appropriate geographical split will be determined to ensure parity of workload in terms of complexity, scale and responsibility for services.

“This structural change is not a single solution in terms of progressing improvements to service delivery, service change and transformation but is one component which will support the wider changes being progressed.”

Ms West advised that one head of service position is currently vacant and the job descriptions for the two posts will require to be revised.

Her report also outlined proposals to recruit a chief financial officer (CFO) for the HSCP, with the requirements of the post, created two years ago, now more clearly understood.

Ms West said: “When the IJB Chief Financial Officer role was created the position was to be kept under review, as there was uncertainty pre-integration of the responsibilities of this role in practice.

“Two years ago this started as a part-time appointment, which has since been converted to a full time position, however the grade of the post does not reflect the requirements of the role and does not have parity with the role in many other HSCPs.

“It is recommended that the IJB realign the grade and role of the Chief Financial Officer position to be that of a Chief Officer (Head of Service) under both pay and grading structures.

“There is a cost pressure associated with re-grading the CFO post to a Head of Service, under both the NHS and Council terms and conditions.

“This would range between £7k and £22k, dependant on whether the post holder were employed by the NHS or Council. It is recommended that this cost pressure be accepted by the IJB.”