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28.01.19

Redundancy costs at Essex County Council reach £8.6m after 277 employees exit

Nearly £8.6m has been spent on redundancies at Essex County Council after nearly 300 staff left during a reorganisation of its senior management structure.

Statistics released by the council showed that 277 Essex County Council employees left with redundancy packages in 2017-18, with 13 separate staff members leaving the council with pay-outs between £100,000 and £200,000.

A council spokesperson said the redundancies were a legal requirement and were “necessary to streamline the organisation following staff feedback.”

The county council’s accounts showed that 137 of the job losses were compulsory, with around £7.7m spent on redundancy packages and £900,000 on other termination benefits.

The council has been planning to reduce costs for some time, but Mike Mackrory, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at the council, said he was “very surprised to hear” the number of staff made redundant and the cost of their exits.

“I think that some people have come out of it better than others. Some senior workers will see that redundancy figure and, knowing that they have the skills and the role to get another job, will take it.

“I’m not surprised that there have been redundancies but I am surprised that some were paid such a large amount to leave.”

In total, Essex council spent £8.6m on 277 outgoing employees in 2017-18, representing a huge increase compared to the 83 exit packages the year before, which cost just £2m.

The regional secretary for Unison, Chris Jenkinson, called the figures “another stark reminder of the cost of austerity policies being passed on from Westminster.”

He said people just want decent services but “instead, the council has spent millions shaking up its senior management structure and getting rid of hundreds of people supposed to provide those services.”

Earlier this month, Essex County Council released its budget plans for 2019-20, which proposed cuts to some services: closing 25 libraries and raising council tax by 3.99%, as well as investments in the road network and school places.

Image credit - greenacre8

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