Latest Public Sector News

23.09.15

The difficulty in quantifying council job cuts

Recently South Tyneside Council warned that over the next four years up to 600 jobs could be lost at the organisation, and other local authorities are warning of redundancies as the government’s austerity measures start to bite. 

But being able to accurately forecast or analyse how many redundancies may happen over the course of this Parliament is not a simple task. Why? Commercial confidentiality, according to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), which acts on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. 

South Tyneside stated that it had sent a HR1 form – covering the period October 2015 to March 2020 – to the government. However, it wasn’t legally required to make this announcement to the public – only to the government. 

How do we know this? PSE asked the Insolvency Service through a Freedom of Information request how many local authorities have submitted HR1 Forms – advance notification of redundancies – to the Redundancy Payments Service within BIS relating to the same period. 

We were told the information was exempt – as is confirming whether the information even exists. “The information is not in the public domain and it is open to employers to sue the Secretary of State for breach of confidence if such unauthorised disclosures were made.” 

So, in this day of transparency and openness, we’ll struggle to bring you the full picture. That is unless all local authorities take the proactive decision like South Tyneside to make this information public from the outset – even if it isn’t what people want to hear.

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