THE first part of a plan for a top-to-bottom restructure of the county council in a bid to save £6 million has been backed by councillors.

The move by bosses at Worcestershire County Council would see a shake-up of the authority’s senior leadership with the number of chief officers falling from 16 to 14 and the authority’s head of finance scrapped.

The plans were approved after Labour councillors asked for an assurance that council bosses would “give regard” to ensuring new posts would not be paid more than they currently are.

Other changes, which include the creation of a directorate of people to include adult services, libraries, the county’s archive service as well as Public Health and commissioning for children’s services, are expected to save around £115,000.

Councillor Luke Mallett said things did need to change at the council but he did not want to see the restructure to result in salary increases for the council’s top tier.

He said: “We believe that actually at a time of austerity, which is undoubtedly what we are still in, that we should see leadership in terms of cost-control and savings beginning at the top of the council.

He said keeping salaries at the same level for the new roles would send a “clear message” that saving money would “start at the top” and the leadership would “share the burden” of cuts with other staff.

The council’s Conservatives asked for the wording of the motion to be changed from “continuing austerity” to “financial pressures.”

Cllr Simon Geraghty, leader of the county council, reiterated the reorganisation of the council’s top jobs was about making sure the cost was “being reduced not increased.”

Cllr Marcus Hart said the council’s Conservatives were happy to agree with the sentiment of the Labour amendment as there was no proposal to increase the salaries of the council’s top jobs.

Cllr Andy Roberts was “slightly bothered” that if a new role demanded a different salary - because of increased responsibility - the council would not be able to offer it.

He said it would also introduce a principle of a ‘salary cap’ for the next stages of the restructure and would “reintroduce” austerity at the council.