Top officers go as Portsmouth City Council tries to cut costs not services

GOING John Slater
GOING John Slater
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TOP jobs at Portsmouth City Council are set to go as the authority continues its drive to cut costs.

Already confirmed as taking voluntary redundancy are the head of planning John Slater, the head of human resources Kay White, and the head of asset management Tony Nicholas.

LEAVING Kay White

LEAVING Kay White

None of the senior officers will be replaced and their responsibilities will be taken on by other service heads within the council – potentially saving a total of £380,000 a year.

One further post will be lost through merging legal and audit services, putting the jobs of both department bosses at risk.

The council is now consulting with unions and staff and will decide at the next meeting of the employment committee which job will go and who will be appointed to the new position.

Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘These changes will mean we have gone from 33 posts to 19 in the top three layers of management, which is a 40 per cent reduction.

‘This is another step to try and reduce senior management to protect other council services.

‘We won’t replace any of the positions that are going, we will just share the work out among the remaining heads of service.’

Council chief executive David Williams wrote a report which suggested losing the four posts – and said he hoped it would not have a significant effect on services.

He wrote: ‘Whilst the redundancy of three posts and the loss of three such senior and experienced officers will be a significant reduction in capacity and capability to the council, the financial pressures currently faced by the council are such that such reductions do need to be considered.’

Tory opposition spokeswoman in charge of finance, Cllr Donna Jones, said a reduction in the number of top council jobs was inevitable.

She said: ‘In the Lib Dems’ budget they said they wanted to get rid of two heads of service and in our budget we suggested four, so I am glad they have come around to our way of thinking.

‘We have to make £50m in savings over the next three years and I strongly believe that these changes can be made without reducing front-line services.

‘Scaling down the management structure and tidying up the services is essential. It is simply not justifiable to have three managers in each department.’

Cllr Jones added that her only concern was with losing a qualified professional as the head of planning.

‘I am wondering how that will pan out,’ she said. ‘But I have been assured that there will be no effect on services so I am hoping that is right.

‘Members of the public should not see any change at all from these job losses and I will be disappointed if they do.’