14,000 more council jobs to go, warns Local Government Association

Councils expect to shed another 14,000 jobs over the next year, on top of nearly 7,000 posts already thought to have been lost in the past six months, a survey has revealed.

A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) published Monday, 11 May, found that three in five councils had cut jobs since last October, following a £2.5bn reduction in income. A similar proportion were planning cuts in the next 12 months.

The survey found that London was the worst affected, with nine out of 10 boroughs already having made cuts. Westminster Borough Council – itself set to cut 200 jobs – admitted that it would need to save £30m a year on staffing costs.

Graham White, Westminster’s HR director, had previously told Personnel Today that top-heavy HR departments and back-office functions will soon become a thing of the past. “For a long time, HR has had to wake up to the realisation that it doesn’t have a long-term future as a large, top-heavy department. Research shows what HR does can be done by others, much faster and better,” he said.

Councils that responded to the LGA survey admitted that front-line jobs in libraries, sports centres and arts centres had also been lost.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, vice-chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “It is particularly regrettable to have to cut frontline staff, but this demonstrates the bleak financial situation that councils are in.”

The LGA survey also found that most councils are freezing pay and vacant posts, while reducing casual or agency staff.

The survey, conducted in March, was based on 165 authorities – a 43% response rate – and looked at the number of jobs cut since October 2008. Among responses to the survey were reports that some councils had made substantial cuts, including:

  • Bristol City Councils 400 posts
  • Nottingham City Councils 400 posts
  • Oldham up to 850 jobs
  • Northumberland up to 800 posts
  • Newcastle 500 jobs
  • Westminster about 200 temporary and permanent positions

Extrapolate the total figures provided across England and 6,700 staff may have lost their jobs.

Earlier this year, Personnel Today reported that hundreds of HR jobs were at risk across local councils, as authorities sought ways to combat a fall in income.

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