The council published a report into restructuring its HR department at the end of April, detailing the loss of 32 jobs out of 260, including advisory and managerial posts. It blamed financial pressures for the cuts, and also signalled a move to an HR business partner model, where managers are responsible for carrying out general HR tasks.
HR director Jack Markiewicz said the council consulted on the report for more than a year, meeting with unions three times to discuss changes. But Unison said management had failed to listen to its concerns.
Branch secretary Jill Turner said: “The restructuring was just about [saving] money and [reducing] headcount rather than ‘what do we need to do here’. When you’re dealing with complex, different HR issues, if you get it wrong, it’s a big risk.”
Turner said staff were now unclear as to what the HR function would be doing, and were “deeply worried and confused” about what managers should expect from the move.
“Managers have never dealt with HR issues before and are not competent to do so,” Turner said. “It’s not acceptable to get rid of jobs and then expect managers to get on with it. It will end up a mess.”
However, Markiewicz said the council did not have the money to protect jobs. He told Personnel Today: “We’ve had to develop a structure that fits the size of the budget. It’s an opportunity for us to streamline the HR function, making it more focused and professional.”
Notts CC HR plan