A COUNCIL is shedding some of its directors' posts under a major shake-up of its services.

From next April, Wear Valley District Council will be streamlined into four departments instead of the present eight, with a chief executive at the helm.

The move, which was approved at a special meeting of the council last Thursday, follows a review of all the council's operations.

It is part of a modernising exercise which local authorities across the country are undertaking as many ditch the traditional committee system in favour of a cabinet-style structure.

As a shire district with less than 85,000 residents, Wear Valley District Council can opt to retain its committees, and council chiefs have pledged to consult the public before any decision is made.

In the meantime, the four directors' posts will be advertised internally.

But executive director Carol Hughes has been on sick leave since April, and it is more than a year since technical director Tom Imerson retired after allegations of misuse of the Internet.

Council leader Olive Brown said: "We have put in place the structure we feel will best serve the people of Wear Valley because it will also be what is best for the efficient running of the council."