THE council has appointed a new law and governance director following a damning report into the way the authority handles finances.

Terry Osborne has been drafted in from Brent Council and will begin work in February.

She has been tasked with improving contracting practices after the report, written by an independent panel of local government heavyweights, showed a systemic failings in financial management.

The council’s senior management team will shrink from 20 to 8 after the panel, chaired by London Development Agency chief executive Sir Peter Rogers, found “structural weaknesses”, holding back performance improvement and governance.

Chief executive Andrew Kilburn has pledged to restructure the leadership team to “enhance collective responsibility”.

The senior management team will now consist of a small executive board made up of the executive and strategic directors, the chief executive and his deputy.

Mr Kilburn stated in a report to the council’s cabinet that Waltham Forest had the largest senior management team in capital, second only to the City of London.

A spokesman for the council said: “One of the things Ms Osborne will specifically be looking at is procurement where the council needs to improve.

“We have had an interim in the post and part of the plan is to get more people into permanent roles.”

The panel, which also included former Improvement & Development Agency executive director Lucy de Groot, was appointed by Mr Kilburn in May 2009.

It was set up to look into the mismanagement of millions of pounds after doubts were raised over whether support was being given to some of the borough’s most vulnerable people.