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200 jobs to go from rural councils in Dorset

County Hall 2

Published at 9:11am 12th October 2018. (Updated at 9:13am 12th October 2018)

More than 200 mid-tier management posts are to be cut from councils in rural Dorset in the coming months.

But none are likely to be made redundant until after the new Dorset Council comes into being in April next year – although some could be given the opportunity to leave earlier.

Figures seen by the Local Democracy Reporting service say there will be a loss of 30 senior managers, 127 mid-tier managers and 65 posts in corporate services, although these predicted figures may change subject to agreement on the final structure of the new council. In time the loss of these posts could save between £6 and £8million a year.

The losses will come from Weymouth and Portland borough, West Dorset, North Dorset, East Dorset, Purbeck district and Dorset County Council and will depend on who is successful in job applications.

Weymouth and Portland New Council Offices

The amount of money being set aside for redundancy payments is not disclosed but up to £1million had been allocated for the loss of chief executives at Dorset County Council, East Dorset district, and Purbeck District Council.

The final figure will be less than this as it also took into account the possibility of having to pay redundancy to Matt Prosser who headed the combined Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset and North Dorset councils and is now the Dorset Council chief executive.

A paper written for the shadow executive of the new council warns of the delicate balancing act of keeping senior staff motivated in the coming months, knowing that they may be about to lose their jobs – while at the same time delivering services and making the transformation to a new unitary authority.

Opportunities for voluntary release and early retirement will be explored in some cases, but for most who do not land new senior jobs it is likely to mean redundancy.

office worker writing

The paper outlines that a consultation process will need to take place from January onwards to bring about the final structure of new council, a process which is expected to also lead to the removal of some lower tier posts in most departments, with the only likely exceptions being social services.

It will mean many of the existing staff across the current councils having to apply and be interviewed for posts – with the unlucky ones being given notice of between one and three months from May 2019 onwards.

That in itself will also create a challenge for managers – of keeping staff motivated and engaged while they work out their period of notice.

Financial savings from the loss of jobs is not expected to be felt until the 2020/21 financial year, although some savings will start to accrue in 2019 as posts are shed from June onwards.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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