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More Than 200 Posts Cut at City of York Council Over Two Years

City of York Council

11:15am 6th December 2012
(Updated 11:53am 6th December 2012)

The Chief Executive of the City of York Council has announced that 220 posts will be lost at the authority over the next two years.

In an e-mail to all staff sent this morning, the council has blamed cuts to the grant they get from the government.

Yesterday's Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne means the authority will see a further 2% cut in funding on top of having to save £9 million in 2013/14 and £12 million in 2014/15.

Workers are told it will mean:

  • Job vacancies at the council will not be filled
  • Staff will be asked if they wish to take voluntary redundancy or early retirement
  • Helping staff to move across to positions in other councils
  • Trying to find employees positions with other companies in the city
  • Helping staff to set up their own businesses

The council says it is working with the unions to minimise the impact.

The full text of the e-mail from Chief Executive Kersten England can be seen below:

Dear colleagues
I write today to give you information about the forecasted impact on staffing numbers in the council between now and April 2015. As you know we have been planning for savings of £9 million from the council's budget in 2013/2014 and £12 million for 2014/2015.
This is due to ongoing reductions in central government funding for local government, rising demand for statutory services and increased costs of provision of our services. Following the Chancellor's Autumn Statement yesterday we now know that we will see a further two per cent cut in funding to the council in 2014/15, on top of already planned reductions, so in effect the government will have reduced its funding to us by 30 per cent in just four years.
Our analysis suggests that – subject to debate and approval by full Council – it is likely that there will be a reduction of 100 posts in 2013/2014 and 120 posts in 2014/2015. I know that this is unwelcome and unsettling news.
We will be doing everything we can to avoid the need to make compulsory redundancies and to give you support through this time through all possible measures. These include:
  • Continuing to use natural turnover/vacancy management as a way of reducing redundancy
  • Inviting expressions of interest in voluntary severance and voluntary early retirement
  • Working closely with the trade unions on vacancy management, retraining and redeployment. This has had real impact in the last year, and we have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of compulsory redundancies
  • Providing more life and career planning advice for council employees
  • Giving employees access to job opportunities in other authorities as part of a regional local government redeployment agreement
  • Holding talks with other employers in the city or relocating to the city about their recruitment needs to see whether there is a match between these jobs and the skills of council employees who are at risk of redundancy
  • Providing what is called 'outplacement support' – this supports people to prepare and be in good shape for future job opportunities/recruitment processes etc.
  • Access to business start up advice for those who are interested in becoming self employed.
Alongside this work, we have had an initial discussion with the trade unions at the Corporate Joint Consultative Committee and a series of discussions with Directorate Joint Consultative Committees is underway. I know many of you will also have been involved in early discussion and development of the options for financial savings and service delivery. I am committed to involving you in this way and to full formal consultation on proposals as the details are finalised.
The budget reductions mean we need to take some very difficult decisions but I do believe that working together we can find solutions which respect our hard working and professional staff and protect our services. I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you - for your continued professionalism and service to the people of the city - and to the trade unions for working closely with us to minimise the adverse impact on employees.
On a positive note, I am glad to report that from April 2013 our lowest paid council staff will receive the living wage of £7.45 an hour. This is the wage level at which, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an individual can afford to live above the poverty line. The adoption of the Living Wage was a key recommendation to the council from the York Fairness Commission and was approved by Cabinet on 4 December.
This change will not lead to further reductions in staffing. The cost is funded from the Economic Infrastructure Fund in the first year and from year two the cost will be absorbed through job redesign and the creation of Living Wage Apprenticeships for entry level posts.
I know that people value the chance to hear about and debate these issues in person and I am going to be running more open sessions in the new year – as we begin our move to West Offices – so we can meet and discuss these and other HR issues more fully.
The HR team will be working closely with me on this work and will be making full details of the support available to you on colin, in Buzz and through your managers and trade union representatives. If you want to have a confidential conversation with HR in the meantime please contact your HR Business Partner – you can find their details on colin.
In the meantime, please do feel free to contact me if you would like to raise or discuss any specific ideas or concerns.
Best wishes
Kersten England
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