ALL top council bosses’ jobs are on the line as the authority looks to slash its management costs, a cabinet member said.
Speaking at a meeting of Broughton and Bretton Community Council, Cllr Billy Mullin, Flintshire Council cabinet member for corporate management, said the authority’s highly paid heads of service and corporate directors were all on notice their jobs are under threat.
As part of the county council’s efforts to make £15 million of savings in the next financial year, it is looking to cut £2 million from its senior management costs and Cllr Mullin said at least eight of its top 18 posts are facing the axe.
He told the community council meeting: “Senior managers are all on notice their jobs are under threat. We’ll go from 18 to a maximum of 10.”
The news comes after last week’s announcement that about 80 non-senior management council posts will go to save another £1.5 million from general workforce costs.
Following talks with unions, ballots are expected to be held on the workforce reductions plans in the coming months.
Cllr Mullin told fellow councillors at the Broughton and Bretton Community Council meeting that restructuring plans for the authority’s senior management were already well under way.
“Flintshire Council has got a huge gap of £15.3 million they’ve got to find,” he said.
“And it will be sorted out.”
Council leader Aaron Shotton has previously told the Leader the workforce cuts were part of the council’s efforts to meet the savings targets without slashing public services.
Ian Jones, chairman of the Unison union’s Flintshire branch, welcomed what he called Flintshire Council’s ‘holistic’ approach to the cuts and said the trade union was “fully engaged” with the council.
And although he accepted some job losses were likely, he said the numbers involved were low considering the council’s 7,500-strong workforce.
But he said the first “tangible” signs of job losses would be those in senior management, with restructuring plans already at “quite an advanced level”.
Mr Jones said Unison’s main priority was to preserve employment for members and he praised Flintshire Council for the approach it had taken to making savings.
“When you read the headlines about Birmingham and other areas, about the way they’ve approached services and some of the horror stories about staff reductions, I think we’ve been pretty lucky,” he said.
In a statement council chief executive Colin Everett said: “The Council announced how it is going about reducing its employment costs, including workforce numbers at cabinet last week.
“There will be a detailed workforce communication released this week to include information about the next stage of the process.
“In this communication it will be explained how individual employees can express an interest to leave the authority through voluntary redundancy or voluntary early retirement.
“Applications can be made throughout February and will be considered throughout March.
“It must be stressed that there is no entitlement for individual employees to leave the authority and this is not a ‘free for all’ out of any desperation to make financial efficiencies. We have set financial targets as in the budget report and they are achievable.
“Whilst we aim to balance the wishes of individuals with our need to make budget savings as far as we can, we will also aim to protect a safe and capable level of resourcing for each and every service.
“While we go about this we will be following through on our commitment to reduce management costs as the first priority.
“Contrary to one press report we should clarify that individual letters to employees suggesting that they are at risk is not an approach we are taking.
“Our relationship with the unions is a positive one. Talks have been encouraging and with their help we aim to manage this process sensitively and successfully.”