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20 January 2011, 08:46
Up to 40 senior posts will go at Southampton City Council in a radical restructure at the top of the organisation.
The proposed changes will reduce the wage bill by up to £2 million a year.
Between 35 and 40 management posts, including at least two at director level, will be removed from the organisation, which equates to a reduction of approximately 20% of the existing management structure. This reduction will be accompanied by a restructure that will see existing departments being merged and reduced in number.
These newly announced changes are part of the council's wider response to the radical changes across the public sector and the unprecedented financial situation. Government funding for councils is being drastically reduced and Southampton City Council must find savings of £25 million next year (2011/12) alone and more than £65 million over the next four years.
The city council has been planning for a very tough funding settlement for more than a year and, in addition to these reductions in the management structure, has already announced a range of further measures designed to tackle the budget shortfall while protecting core public services. These include:
Announcing these new measures, Councillor Royston Smith, Leader of Southampton City Council said: "This council is determined to show strong leadership in the face of a severe economic climate. The reality is that we have significantly less money and that we cannot avoid difficult decisions.
While recognising the valuable job our managers do, we are committed to reducing what we spend on the council's management structure in order to protect the services that our residents and businesses value most."
"By reducing spend on the council's management structure, we can achieve long term sustainable savings that will help us to protect the front line services that make a real difference to people's lives. We have been planning to deal with this extremely tough set of circumstances for over a year and have thought long and hard to come up with a package of different measures that best achieves that.
It is very sad when anyone at any level of the organisation is faced with losing their job and we don't make these decisions lightly. However, our focus has to be on delivering to the public and at the end of this process Southampton City Council will still be very much in business, providing hundreds of really important services in our city."
The changes are planned to be implemented within the next two years, with a focus on making as many changes as early in that period as possible in order to deliver the savings needed to help balance the budget. The 40 posts being cut are on top on a further 250 job losses which have already been announced at the City Council.