Council set to shed jobs in department

UP TO 11 jobs could go in Scarborough Council’s revenues and benefits departments following the introduction of an efficiency programme.

The two departments are moving forward as a single service under one manager in a bid to help save £4 million over the next two years.

This is due to a radical reduction in central government grant funding of 14.6 per cent in 2011 to 2012 and 9.2 per cent in 2012 to 2013.

The council has been working with the ‘Right First Time’ Corporate Efficiency and Improvement Programme, which looks to reduce waste, duplication and failure in service delivery processes.

This programme is aimed at helping the council protect front line services, despite the challenging financial climate.

One of the first stages has been the reduction of management in the revenues and benefits departments.

And from today, every customer with a benefits query will be seen by a benefits expert straight away, so more claims can be processed in one day.

These efficiency measures have resulted in a planned reduction of up to 11 posts, which is part of the original 50 ‘at risk’ posts estimated by the council and announced in January.

Hilary Jones, the council’s strategic director, said: “We are working to ensure we are as efficient an organisation as possible to maximise the benefit of every pound we spend for our communities and will continue to explore all areas for efficiency savings.

“Clearly, at the end of three years, we will be a smaller and more streamlined organisation, but still high performing and effective.

“It is always distressing to be in a position where we have to reduce staffing levels. Consultation has started with the affected staff and the council has introduced change management processes to ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum and people are given redeployment opportunities wherever possible.

“It is a real testament to the quality of our staff that they are focused on delivering improvements in performance and maintaining services for vulnerable people despite uncertainty and reducing resources.”