All local education and training boards are due to lose their managing directors, directors of finance and directors of education under a reorganisation proposed by Health Education England.

The organisation last week issued details of its proposals, which aim to save HEE 20 per cent - or £17m - of its £85m running costs.

HSJ revealed HEE’s plans for structural change last month. Under the proposals, each of the 13 LETBs’ current managing director, finance director and education and quality director posts would be abolished. Each would instead have a “local director”. HEE would also create four new national director posts, each to oversee a group of LETBs.

Local directors would be accountable to one of the four national directors rather than to HEE chief executive Ian Cumming, as LETB managing directors are at present.

Consultation options include exploring whether local directors should be clinicians.

Overall, the proposals affect 60 current posts, which would be reduced to 45 under the changes. A consultation of the plans will end on 3 August.

LETBs would continue to each host a postgraduate dean - a statutory position - but these would be accountable to one of the new national directors, instead of their local director.

HSJ understands HEE is taking legal advice about whether it would be required to directly transfer managing directors to the new local director positions. It is understood the organisation prefers a more open process.

To mitigate potential concerns about a lack of provider influence under the proposals, the chief executive of a local provider would be appointed as vice chair in each LETB, and a national provider advisory body would be created.

A senior LETB source told HSJ: “A lot of people will be frankly disappointed about what is being put forward. It has the potential to confuse and create more bureaucracy. It’s bonkers and looks like a dog’s dinner.

“There is a risk to local leadership as a result of this because managing directors who have spent the last 18 months developing their roles and relationships locally might not be appointed as local directors.”

But another HEE official argued the changes were positive. The source said: “This isn’t a centralising re-organisation, it really isn’t.

“I don’t think the plans will automatically lead to less power and accountability for LETBs.”

A HEE spokesman stressed the powers and responsibilities of the 13 LETBs would remain.

He said: “One of the specific questions we are asking as part of the consultation process is about the reporting and accountability arrangements.”

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