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650 council workers ‘interested’ in redundancy

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By Fiona Reid
650 council workers ‘interested’ in redundancy

ALMOST ten per cent of all council employees have expressed an interest in taking up the chance of voluntary redundancy.

Dumfries and Galloway Council are currently looking to shed posts in an attempt to find £21.1 million of savings, and have been running a Early Retirement/Voluntary Severance (ERVS) scheme.
A report due before councillors next week says that ‘in excess of 650 employees’ have been provided with voluntary redundancy figures, with the Pension’s Team running 14 roadshows across the region – speaking with staff.
Dumfries and Galloway Council estimate nearly £100 million in cumulative savings by allowing nearly 700 employees to take up ERVS over the past five years.
But pointing to a budget settlement agreed with the Scottish Government earlier this year, a spokesman said: “This forced our council to find massive savings of £21.1 million.
“Our council is currently encouraging a greater uptake of Early Retirement/Voluntary Severance to achieve savings and support our commitment to no compulsory redundancies.
“The ERVS scheme is not just about us cutting staff levels and costs – we must ensure that our workforce is the right size and has the right skills and competencies to deliver our council’s priorities.”
Over the past year, the number of council employees has decreased.
There were 6025 full-time equivalent positions (FTE) in April 2015, compared to 6150 the year before.
And as of April 15, there was a head count of 6783 people.
Annual salary costs are meanwhile down from £153,982,838 in 2014/15 to £153,635,311 in 2015/16.
Noting the decrease in staffing, a spokesman for the local authority said: “This demonstrates how our council is effectively managing staff numbers across our services.
“We will continue to take this approach to ensure that we can deliver essential services to meet the high standards that people expect from our council.”