Redundancies to save two Hampshire councils £1m

From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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SIXTEEN senior managers are to be made redundant to save two councils £1m.

Havant and East Hampshire councils will begin sharing managers from next month as they strive to balance the books in the wake of government cutbacks.

A total of 31 managers – covering everything from environmental health to planning policy – has been reduced to 15, who will work across both councils.

An estimated £900,000 is being paid out for redundancies as a result of the job losses.

But a long-term annual saving of £1m will be made across both councils.

The shake-up is the latest review of management at the two authorities, which already share a chief executive and seven top managers.

Unison said it could be a difficult transition as the expertise of officers was being lost.

Brian Wood, secretary for East Hampshire branch, said: ‘As long as it’s done in a structured transparent way where staff are consulted and they feel they are part of the process, we are going OK at the moment.

‘Where the council might need to think is that if they do have pinch points, they may need to not bank the savings and put the resources in where it’s needed.

‘That’s going to become more apparent over the next six months.

‘If you have three posts going into one, that’s a hell of an ask for the remaining post holder at a senior management level.’

Chief executive Sandy Hopkins said: ‘These changes are all about achieving more for less, sharing good practice and being focused on the needs of our customers.

‘One example of a service already going through this process is shared parking enforcement and other service areas will follow.

‘Both councils are intent on working together to reduce the burden on council tax payers in a tough financial climate.’