TWO senior members of staff are among those who will be leaving their jobs with Malvern Hills District Council in the next fortnight as part of an economy drive.

Council spokesman Stephen Leese was not prepared to name the two heads of service, who are on the second highest tier of the council's career structure.

One has been involved with the capital programme and the other "corporate" work and information technology. The council has 14 heads of service.

Last autumn, the authority agreed a three-year budget strategy aimed at curbing expenditure and boosting finances.

Conservative councillors said the cuts were necessary because they were not prepared to continue raiding the authority's reserves.

"The council needed to take £1m out of its net revenue budget," said Mr Leese. "Due to changes in employment law, we had to send notices to 100 staff, informing them their posts could be at risk.

"In the end, six compulsory redundancies were identified, plus six natural retirements or staff being put on fixed-term contracts.

"We're pleased that we've been able to avoid some of the compulsory redundancies." But he warned two "potential compulsory redundancies" were on the cards. Another worker had been offered a "suitable alternative" job on a 12-month contract and could be asked to go if the offer was not accepted.

A sixth post was in the balance, although a decision did not have to be made this month, Mr Leese added.

Council tax

Meanwhile, council tax bills featuring a rise of nearly 30 per cent on last year's demands are to be issued before the end of this month.

Last year, MHDC hired business consultant Peter Johnson on a part-time basis.

He is still analysing the council's management and is due to make a report to the Government's Best Value Inspectorate in the summer.