Council to axe 26 jobs and hand over services

Worcester News: Council to axe 26 jobs and hand over services Council to axe 26 jobs and hand over services

WORCESTER City Council is cutting seven per cent of the workforce and wants to hand over rubbish collections, leisure centres and museum services to new providers in a drastic attempt to save cash.

A total of 26 posts will be axed over the next two years as part of a plan to save £1.2 million by 2015, with the council refusing to rule out compulsory job losses.

It also says it will freeze its portion of the council tax for residents next year – offering Christmas cheer to hard-pressed taxpayers.

The move was outlined yesterday by the Conservative leadership, which admitted the cuts will be “a painful process”.

Council chiefs are forecasting a budget shortfall of up to £2.5 million by 2017/18 due to reduced government funding, shortfalls in income and the general poor economy.

In order to plug some of that gap they want to “commission” some services – a buzzword for handing them to external providers such as the private sector, voluntary groups or other bodies.

They have now identified four areas which form part of an initial wish list of areas they want to hive off including waste pick-ups, leisure centres, museum services and the revenues and benefits team.

Alongside bin collections, grounds maintenance will also be examined to see if it can be handed over.

All four areas make up £5 million of the £23 million the city council spends each year, meaning big savings can be made by handing them over.

The council says any savings from it will not kick in until around 2015/16 onwards, which means they must take action before then to plug some of the budget gap.

So the equivalent of 26 full-time job losses have been factored in during 2013/14 and 2014/15, which could come from any areas of the council.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of the city council, said: “This is not a painless process – it will require some pain.

"We want to provide the best possible value for taxpayers’ pounds and believe commissioning will help us do that. We cannot carry on providing services the way we do now.”

Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member for finance, said: “We believe we can make relatively large savings to the budget this way.”

The cuts will be discussed by the Conservative cabinet on Tuesday and have been sent out for public consultation.

The budget will then needed to be voted on by full council in February and, if approved, senior staff will develop proposals for handing services over.

THE FACTS

Worcester City Council spends about £23 million on services each year, with around £5 million alone on bin collections and grounds maintenance, museums, sports centres, and revenues and benefits.

Bosses say the four form part of an “initial list” which they want to hand over – all other services will eventually be examined to see if they can form part of the process.

Commissioning a service means it could be taken over by any external provider – including the private sector, voluntary groups, new bodies, not-for-profit organisations or even other councils.

The two leisure facilities the council still runs, St John’s Sports Centre and Nunnery Wood Sports Complex, will be part of the commissioning process but not centres in Perdiswell and Sansome Walk as those are already managed privately.

The city council is awaiting an announcement on Government funding for 2013/14 which is due on Wednesday December 19.

The draft budget includes £690,000 of cuts next year, rising to £1.2 million in 2014/15 – the bulk of which will come from scrapping 26 posts and efficiency savings.

It then aims to increase the spending reductions to a total of £2.5 million by 2017/18, based on assumptions the Government will slash its grant funding by 20 per cent over that period.

Because it does not yet know how much Government cash it will get during this timescale, the figures are subject to revision as the years roll by. 

Comments (10)

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4:19pm Wed 5 Dec 12

barbourne-worcester says...

If they cut another 26 full time posts there will hardly be anybody left, lets hope they don't cut the operational people on the ground who do good work! They could probably lose some senior manager posts... But I doubt that will happen!
If they cut another 26 full time posts there will hardly be anybody left, lets hope they don't cut the operational people on the ground who do good work! They could probably lose some senior manager posts... But I doubt that will happen! barbourne-worcester
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Wed 5 Dec 12

uptonX says...

So council are whinging about having to save £1.2 Million but recently wasted £1.3 Million on the Whittington roundabout which has NOT improved traffic flow but has created an accident blackspot that's a real danger for those heading towards Malvern. Shame we haven't got a local press that would hold them to account.
So council are whinging about having to save £1.2 Million but recently wasted £1.3 Million on the Whittington roundabout which has NOT improved traffic flow but has created an accident blackspot that's a real danger for those heading towards Malvern. Shame we haven't got a local press that would hold them to account. uptonX
  • Score: 0

5:11pm Wed 5 Dec 12

WilkoJ says...

It's about time the public started taking matters in to their own hands and start banging on the door of the highways department and demand that we come face to face with those responsible for wasting our money of the Whittington roundabout. We should start turning up to County Hall unannounced and ask to speak to staff. They cannot refuse and we cannot be removed from the premises of what is a public building.
It's about time the public started taking matters in to their own hands and start banging on the door of the highways department and demand that we come face to face with those responsible for wasting our money of the Whittington roundabout. We should start turning up to County Hall unannounced and ask to speak to staff. They cannot refuse and we cannot be removed from the premises of what is a public building. WilkoJ
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Wed 5 Dec 12

skychip says...

Whittington Roundabout is a County Council issue not City Council (who are losing jobs).
Whittington Roundabout is a County Council issue not City Council (who are losing jobs). skychip
  • Score: 0

9:50pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Doesitmakesense?? says...

skychip wrote:
Whittington Roundabout is a County Council issue not City Council (who are losing jobs).
Thank you skychip for pointing that out - at least someone understands the split between the County and City Council.

I agree with Barbourne - with only 300 employees now if they get rid of the services listed above this will leave them with Planning and Housing .............oh and HR, Finance and the Senior Mgt - this makes it just a commissioning body and therefore what's left should be transferred to the County as there is no longer a need for the City Council - however this will be like the turkeys voting for Xmas and no Senior Officers will recommend to the Members that they get rid of them. Unless of course they are over 55 and can get access to their pension. Then they go on and work as a consultant for another Local Authority. Nice if you can get but it's normally the 'operational' teams on the ground that have to bear the cuts.
[quote][p][bold]skychip[/bold] wrote: Whittington Roundabout is a County Council issue not City Council (who are losing jobs).[/p][/quote]Thank you skychip for pointing that out - at least someone understands the split between the County and City Council. I agree with Barbourne - with only 300 employees now if they get rid of the services listed above this will leave them with Planning and Housing .............oh and HR, Finance and the Senior Mgt - this makes it just a commissioning body and therefore what's left should be transferred to the County as there is no longer a need for the City Council - however this will be like the turkeys voting for Xmas and no Senior Officers will recommend to the Members that they get rid of them. Unless of course they are over 55 and can get access to their pension. Then they go on and work as a consultant for another Local Authority. Nice if you can get but it's normally the 'operational' teams on the ground that have to bear the cuts. Doesitmakesense??
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Wed 5 Dec 12

uptonX says...

Council, city, whatever:

"SIR – It is clear following the recent angry debate at County Hall (Worcester News, September 14) that many people can see the problems with the design of the filter lane at Whittington island heading to Malvern.

Alas, not Councillor Simon Geraghty. He cannot see the problem ordinary residents of Worcester can, and dismisses them in a rather casual way by saying wait for the safety audit."
Council, city, whatever: "SIR – It is clear following the recent angry debate at County Hall (Worcester News, September 14) that many people can see the problems with the design of the filter lane at Whittington island heading to Malvern. Alas, not Councillor Simon Geraghty. He cannot see the problem ordinary residents of Worcester can, and dismisses them in a rather casual way by saying wait for the safety audit." uptonX
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Jabbadad says...

The only pain which should be felt (Agnostic coun Geragthy's words) should be from Councillors like him who get substantial attendance allowances, in fact Agnostic coun Geraghty gets over £40,000 per year from duties on the City and County councils.
And the fact that a private company can undertake the council services for less than at present can only mean CUTS, or that the current Councillors are not fit to hold the positions they have when it comes to running public services for BEST VALUE.
There are Questions to be answered folks?.
The only pain which should be felt (Agnostic coun Geragthy's words) should be from Councillors like him who get substantial attendance allowances, in fact Agnostic coun Geraghty gets over £40,000 per year from duties on the City and County councils. And the fact that a private company can undertake the council services for less than at present can only mean CUTS, or that the current Councillors are not fit to hold the positions they have when it comes to running public services for BEST VALUE. There are Questions to be answered folks?. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Landy44 says...

Agree with Jabbadad!

My concern is that these folks have no experience of procuring these services so the contracts they agree are unlikely to represent good long term value.

I also agree with others that the axe never falls on senior management in the public sector, which is where a lot of the "fat" is.

When do we get to the point that we question the reason for having separate city, district and county councils with all the duplication that entails? The city and county councils used to be one organisation years ago - perhaps it's time to go back to that as a way of cutting out some of the senior management costs? We really can't afford all these conflicting, bureaucratic layers of government.
Agree with Jabbadad! My concern is that these folks have no experience of procuring these services so the contracts they agree are unlikely to represent good long term value. I also agree with others that the axe never falls on senior management in the public sector, which is where a lot of the "fat" is. When do we get to the point that we question the reason for having separate city, district and county councils with all the duplication that entails? The city and county councils used to be one organisation years ago - perhaps it's time to go back to that as a way of cutting out some of the senior management costs? We really can't afford all these conflicting, bureaucratic layers of government. Landy44
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Littlesuzy says...

As already mentioned people are getting Worcester City Council and Worcester County Council mixed up!! I must stress the cuts are at WORCRSTER CITY COUNCIL.

So the Whittington round about was nothing to do with Worcester City Council nor does meetings at County Hall.
As already mentioned people are getting Worcester City Council and Worcester County Council mixed up!! I must stress the cuts are at WORCRSTER CITY COUNCIL. So the Whittington round about was nothing to do with Worcester City Council nor does meetings at County Hall. Littlesuzy
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Jabbadad says...

Could I suggest without any STRESS that yes the roads are a county issue. And Agnostic Simon Geraghty was responsible under his Riverside County Council seat in throwing the disabled off the St Swithun Street parking in favor of the Taxi's.
However when it comes to cuts you might also realise that both City & County Councils are TORY CONTROLLED and each are making CUTS (Slash & Burn) in SERVICES and BOTH COUNCILS want to become COMMISSIONERS ONLY, and several Councillors sit on Both Councils
Could I suggest without any STRESS that yes the roads are a county issue. And Agnostic Simon Geraghty was responsible under his Riverside County Council seat in throwing the disabled off the St Swithun Street parking in favor of the Taxi's. However when it comes to cuts you might also realise that both City & County Councils are TORY CONTROLLED and each are making CUTS (Slash & Burn) in SERVICES and BOTH COUNCILS want to become COMMISSIONERS ONLY, and several Councillors sit on Both Councils Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

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