Council Workers Asked To Sign Redundancy Risk Form

town hall windows signSome Town Hall staff members have received letters asking them to acknowledge that they’re at risk of redundancy.

The officers from various departments had signed up to a management course being run by Lifelong Learning. They were asked to sign the document headed “At Risk Of Redundancy Eligibility Declaration” in order to access funding for the £550 course fee.

The form was from The Learning Partnership For Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which administers money as part of the European Social Fund.

A covering email said the project was to “help Local Authority staff gain qualifications in the face of large budget cuts” and said it needed to be signed “as evidence.”

The form says the Council is facing a £1.4m deficit by April 2014 and that the new interim Chief Executive is looking to make savings. It also says Mr Keel stated on ScillyToday that, “staffing will be looked at and may involve reduced staff numbers.”

In fact, he said it’s too early to say whether restructuring would mean job losses and he’s aware of how that would impact on the wider community.

Director of Finance and HR, Peter Lawrence-Roberts, told us that ESF funding can support individuals where the economic conditions indicate that there is the potential for restructuring or downsizing.

He said all participants on the course are required to sign the form, which means the training can be fully funded by an external body, creating a saving for the Council.

Staff are not at greater risk of redundancy by taking the course, nor by signing the form, he said.

Peter added that no decisions have been taken as to which staff members are potentially at risk of redundancy, or even if there will be redundancies.

But he said one of the priorities for the Interim Chief Executive will be to consider whether the Council is fit for purpose for the challenges it faces in the next few years. This factor has been communicated to the staff as a whole.

Peter said neither HR nor the unions were consulted, as there is no specific risk to the staff members involved, although Peter said they had been sent a letter to reassure them that they face no increased or specific risk of redundancy as part of their attendance on the course.

4 Responses to Council Workers Asked To Sign Redundancy Risk Form

  1. David Graham April 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Why would it be creating a saving?

    Why would the Council be paying to train people that they later want to get rid of?

    Why are the Council paying to train people when they dont know what their structure will look like in 6 months time?

    Why are some staff being sent a letter to tell them not to worry and some aren’t?

    It’s all very well to talk about staffing numbers, but staffing costs always take up the majority of on-costs for a business. Why not look at which areas of Council business over-spent, and what they spent it on?

    £700k over-spends dont ‘just happen’, there’s a lot of button clicking, signing, and talking that brought the over-spend to this point, and it’s about time that names and reasons were offered. Which specific departments/officers/members let the side down?

    This was irresponsible spending on a level never before seen here. Putting ‘measures in place’ to ensure it does not happen again is NOT good enough. No matter what ‘measures’ you put in place, this still happens, it’s the Black Swan effect. People ruin plans by ignoring them or offering excuses as to why they dont apply to them.
    No more excuses, deal with the unprofessional in a professional way.

  2. Mike Brown April 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Councillors Bennett, Bilsborough, Ticehurst, Day & Savill approved 18% to 20% pay rises for all chief officers in 2010. The chief officers cost us £465,570 in salaries in 2011/12 and that’s without their expenses included such as over £18,000 for the director of finance.

    With a £1.4m deficit looming this has clearly proven to be an unsustainable decision of expenditure that keeps coming back to haunt them.

    Other authorities are happy to share chief officer roles with each other, or buy in the expertise, why not us?

  3. Jon Mackenzie April 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    This is a form of fraud in my book and the Learning Partnership ought to be refunded immediately. If it isn’t illegal it is most certainly dubious. There are clearly too many top tier employees at local level when no more than middle management is required.
    Our council set up appears to me to be akin to a General running a regiment as opposed to a division who is constantly undermining the Colonel who should be doing the job.

  4. jenny green April 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    This could be viewed as fraud. Money to pay for something, re: a course because you may be made redundant, therefore, preparing you for this eventuality. Unless you work for the Isles of Scilly Council, where they claim for the money for the redundancy course, although this does not mean your job is at risk. Just sign anyway dear and we will worry about the details, it is the money we are interested in, not you as an individual. You could not make this stupidity up.