1,300 posts cut by West Sussex County Council

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West Sussex County Council is poised to shed a grand total of around 1,300 posts over the next three years, as it gears up for a massive £79m spending reduction during the same period.

Leader Louise Goldsmith said the council needed to lose 500 staff over the three years - 350 in the coming year, and the rest over two subsequent years.

About 400 would be permanent county council employees and the other 100 temporary agency staff.

“We will continue to use turnover to redeploy staff, but inevitably there will be redundancies, and we will seek volunteers where possible,” she said.

It was estimated that a further 800 jobs were likely to be transferred to employment with other service providers.

In job losses and transfers, there would be 1,300 fewer staff employed by the county council in three years’ time, bringing down the total headcount to about 5,000, compared with 6,300 at present - excluding teachers.

“I appreciate this will be very worrying for staff and their families, but changes will be made with the greatest possible care and sensitivity,” said Cllr Goldsmith.

After referring to a ‘tsunami of savings,’ she told the county council: “When you take out £79m from an organisation, it cannot be done without major implications, and therefore substantial change.”

She added: “This isn’t an easy time for any of us.”

There were just two options - one to just muddle through and hope to somehow get back to where they were in the future, and the other to accept and embrace change and become stronger and more dynamic as an organisation.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Cllr Goldsmith said the council had been preparing for this day, and over the last year or so had been holding posts vacant in order to minimise the impact on staff.

Some of the savings required could therefore be achieved by removing nearly 100 vacancies from the books or using them to redeploy staff whose jobs were going elsewhere.

Despite this, they would still need to lose a further 500 staff over the next three years.

To protect as much of the key, critically important frontline services as possible, they were currently looking at sourcing options for much of the administration service, and in doing so expected to make savings in the region of £5.8m.

Overall, it was estimated a further 800 jobs were likely to be transferred to other providers as a result of future sourcing decisions.

The 500 job reductions are expected to include:

*Back office and support service, including office services, finance and HR/training - 239.

*Adult services reshaping following the developing day activities project and other service changes - 49.

*Management and support posts in areas including libraries, strategic planning and highways and transport - 95.

*Further reductions in the learning service in response to grant reductions and the changing relationship with schools - 20.

*Fire service reductions as a result of a redesign - 19.

*Children’s services reductions including management reductions in the early childhood serice and youth service changes - 77.