William Eichler 24 October 2017

Council to axe 420 jobs to close budget gap

Swindon council may have to axe over 400 jobs as it comes under pressure to close a £30m budget gap.

The borough is facing financial problems as a result of Government cuts and the increased levels of spending on supporting vulnerable adults and children.

In order to cope with these pressures the council has decided to dramatically rethink how they deliver services.

This has led to the introduction of the Swindon Programme which, a spokesperson insists, will make services, systems and processes more efficient.

‘Local Authorities across the country are having to fundamentally change the way in which services are provided in order to ensure that they are sustainable for future generations,’ said Cllr Russell Holland, deputy Leader and cabinet member for finance and commercialisation.

‘This will include making more services available online and a greater focus on commercialisation.

‘The reality is that an increasing amount of money is spent on supporting vulnerable adults and children and we have to prioritise our spending on those who are most in need.’

As part of this programme, Cllr Holland warned that around 15% of the 2,800 roles within the organisation could be affected over the next two and half years.

This amounts to potentially 420 jobs being lost.

According to Cllr Holland this will be achieved through a combination of retirements, not replacing existing roles, and working with staff to achieve efficiencies with a focus on minimising redundancies.

'Our financial challenge is significant, over the next 30 months we need to achieve savings of £30 million,’ he said.

‘This means that very difficult but necessary decisions will be made in order for us to continue to prioritise growing Swindon’s economy and supporting those most in need.

‘Those difficult decisions will regrettably include reducing the number of staff roles within the council over the next two and half years.’

‘There will be full consultation with staff and appropriate trade unions before we make decisions on any redundancies,’ he added.  

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