Local authorities pilot staff-sharing scheme to tackle budget cuts

Workers at up to 30 local authorities may be put on secondment in other organisations to avoid making staff redundant, in a pilot scheme designed to help councils meet budget cuts.

Local Government Employers (LGE) – which works with councils to help them deal with changes in the public sector – will be joining an online skill exchange called StaffShare, whereby workers at risk of redundancy can be sent to other employers where their skills are needed for a temporary period.

Redeployed staff will remain under their existing contract but both employers will share the cost of their salary, allowing councils to save money while retaining key talent.

The collaboration follows news that thousands of jobs are under threat, as councils informed workers that they plan to delete vacant posts and seek volunteers for early retirement and redundancy.

Jan Parkinson, managing director of LGE, said: “Local councils are under extraordinary pressure to cut their cost of operation, and looking for ways to help valued employees move into new roles within the private and third sector is part of that strategy.”

Conciliation service ACAS has supported the venture, calling it a “serious and interesting” alternative to workplace management.

John Taylor, chief executive of Acas, said: “Unemployment in any form is damaging and wasteful. The impact on employees and the economy has long term implications and the cycle of recruitment and redundancy is a practice that we should be trying to change.”

StaffShare business development director Phil Flaxton explained that the service allows charities and SMEs access to skills they could not otherwise afford and gives larger organisations an alternative to redundancies. Employers looking to second staff can upload their CVs online and organisations who want to use these workers can browse basic profiles and, if they are members, download CVs for a set fee.

“This benefits all parties,” Flaxton said. “It enables the council or public body to save money without losing the member of staff, it allows third sector organisations and SMEs the benefit of skills which they could not otherwise secure or afford, the employee benefits by having continued employment, and the economy benefits by redistributing skills to where they’re needed.”

For more information on sending an employee on secondment to another organisation, or another part of the same organisation, read XpertHR’s model agreement (subscription required).

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