APPOINTMENTS of new senior posts will "protect" frontline services insisted the leader of Bolton Council as he accused Labour of "playing the ultimate political game".

The council is looking to create new senior posts under a "Transition to Change" programme, but the move has been questioned by Labour who say it could have implications for frontline services.

At this week's full council Cllr Ebrahim Adia, deputy leader of the council, asked for full details of the "final"management structure to be drawn up and called for frontline services to be prioritised.

The programme is a result of an outcome of a review, which was agreed by all parties.

Cllr Adia said: "The strategy been set in 2011 has been clear, that is to prioritise the protection of frontline services, especially frontline services that have the greatest impact on vulnerable residents, these are fundamental values that influence our thinking and the budget set during these years of austerity.

"We prioritised cost reductions in the corporate centre and other back office functions and when this proved insufficient we reluctantly reduced our preventative services while fully recognising this was a false economy.

"The essence of this motion is why the long established policy position is being reversed. What is the case for investing in senior management?

"What are the implications for essential frontline services?"

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of the council, stressed his party was "committed to frontline services" and branded the move by Labour as "disappointing".

He said: "I find it very regrettable that we are in this position, Cllr Adia has quite rightly said that there was cross party agreement for the corporate peer review, we all realised that the status quo couldn't continue.

"And how this has to change in order to protect the very frontline services the the party opposite claims to be defending, something had to change and we had to grow the corporate centre in order to be more agile, more digital in order to access grants, which we were failing on, grants not just from Greater Manchester but from Government.

"I'm extremely disappointed from the party opposite. I know there are members on that side who fully appreciate the difficult position that we are in as a council in selling this, and we as a ruling group are in selling this, because it isn't it just so easy to say 'we should be spending this money on frontline delivery', of course we should, but that is the whole purpose of this transformation agenda, so we are able to run more efficiency, more effectively.

"We have done this in steps so that every single position can be scrutinised. All we have committed to financially is in the region of £35,000 for a HR post and a commitment to come back to every single exec member meeting with further detail around any additional post.

"We are completely committed to frontline delivery. It is a crying shame you are playing the ultimate political game on such and important process within this council."

Cllr Roger Hayes, leader of the Lib-Dems, said: "We had made too deeper cuts in certain management levels and that in itself was adversely affecting our ability to properly target frontline services."

Cllr Peel said: "This is a fundamental change, but there are details within it that worry me, to have a report passed by cabinet that is only half-costed is irresponsible.

"This council should have a full report on the whole transition of change part two agenda fully costed to truly get to grips with the financial implications of this."

Councillors voted to note the decision made by Cabinet which supported the principles for Transition to Change.