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23.01.18

Midlands council offers voluntary redundancy to plug £60m gap

Shropshire Council has announced that it will be offering voluntary redundancy to all non-teaching staff employed by the authority in a bid to plug a £59.3m budget gap.

Launched earlier this week, the measure is part of a wider financial strategy which includes cutting non-core services and changing tax and precept levels.

The council says it plans to make £1m of savings before April of this year through this policy, with a further £9m expected to be saved over the next two years.

Bosses also confirmed that if the savings cannot be made through this scheme, compulsory redundancies may have to be implemented in order to hit savings targets.

“It goes without saying that it would always be preferable to release staff that want to leave,” said Clive Wright, Shropshire Council’s chief executive.

He went on to explain that the authority is undergoing a modernisation processes, including updating to new digital technology, meaning the delivery procedures currently being used could change.

“Many of our back-office processes will become automated and our frontline services will be able to operate mostly out of centralised buildings,” he added.

“This will make us more efficient and most jobs will change. Overall there will unfortunately be some job losses.

“As we’ve said, allowing volunteers for redundancy has been our preference, rather than drawn out compulsory redundancies. We have found that volunteers for redundancy often go on to flourish outside of the council.”

Each of the applications for voluntary redundancy will be individually considered, however, the council believes it will have to turn some requests down in order to ensure core statutory services can be delivered appropriately.

As with many other councils around the country, the authority says its funding gap has developed due to a mix of increasing demand, rising costs, and a drop-in funding provided by the government.

Previously, Shropshire Council has been involved in other cost-savings measures, including a plan to co-locate its library and GP services.

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