Norfolk council jobs to go in shake-up

Sarah HallJobs among the 600 highest paid managers at Norfolk County Council will be lost as part of a massive shake-up package to help streamline the council and save �115m.Sarah Hall

Jobs among the 600 highest paid managers at Norfolk County Council will be lost as part of a massive shake-up package to help streamline the council and save �115m.

With the aid of consultants, the county council has identified just under �1.9m worth of savings which can be made as part of the management overhaul at County Hall.

The number of jobs that will equate to has yet to be revealed, but chief executive David White said County Hall was determined to avoid the 'slash and burn' model which other councils have adopted and then struggled to cope with.

He said the review, which is the first part of a wider blueprint to transform the county council, will be implemented as quickly as possible if it is agreed at Monday's cabinet meeting, but does not believe the full amount will be saved in 2010/11.

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He is recommending that councillors budget for a saving of �1.5m in the next financial year, with the remaining amount achieved the following year.

Mr White said the changes, which include a change in responsibilities for a number of directors, would 'herald the beginning of a new chapter for the county council' with implications well beyond the initial management shake-up and would put the council in a good position to support its future aims.

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He said: 'The overall level of savings will not be delivered in their entirety through efficiency measures alone. It will require not only new ways of working but challenges to existing patterns and levels of service delivery and, overall, will result in the council reviewing the breadth and scale of its activities.'

Daniel Cox, council leader, said it was too soon to say how many posts would be lost through the re-organisation, as discussions were ongoing with staff.

But he said: 'We recognise we need to get the organisation fit for the future as the public sector is going to operate in a very different context in the next decade.

'There's considerable reduction in grants coming to councils and we need to ensure the organisation can deal with the challenges.

'We have started with this management review which has look at the more than just posts, but how the organisation works for the benefit of the public.'

However, Jonathan Dunning, branch secretary of the Norfolk county branch of workers union UNISON, said: 'Our big concern is to avoid compulsory redundancies for members, but, to be fair, the council have given a commitment to keep redundancies down to an absolute minimum.'

The council, which employs around 25,000 people, paid consultants PriceWaterhouseCooper �145,000 to conduct the review and has set aside �3.2m to cover the costs of the changes, including provision for one-off redundancy and pension costs.

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