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Redundancies to be Considered to Make Ends Meet at GBC

Published on: 19 Feb, 2019
Updated on: 21 Feb, 2019

Guildford Borough Council is considering redundancies amid changes in how they deliver services, show proposals on the council’s website, to be debated this evening (February 19, 2019) at Millmead. One unconfirmed report put the possible job loss as high as 100.

The plans include moving as many council activities as possible to “self-serve” and updating and investing in IT. Outsourcing of council services including “waste, street cleansing, community services and parks and countryside” will also be considered.

The proposals set out a stark choice between two options, either the “Future Guildford” programme or the “Channels for Change” programme which has run since 2016. The full council will be given the opportunity to debate the Executive’s recommendation when they meet on February 26.

Guildford Borough Council Offices at Millmead

The council says the changes are needed to close the estimated “gap between income and expenditure of about £10 million” between 2019 and 2023 as a result of the funding pressures on councils.

The paper states: “This is not just a cost-cutting exercise. It is an approach that aims to address the many challenges and improve this council for the future.”

The proposals, based on research by management consultants Ignite, are estimated to save £0.75m in 2018/19, rising to £9.5m in 2022/23. Fees to Ignite are said to be £70,000 in 2018/019, with a further £1.4m to consultants up to 2022.

Redundancy costs are estimated as £4.1m. The total cost to implement “Future Guildford” will be £13.4m amounting to a third of Guildford’s £40m reserves. This is estimated to be paid back within two to five years.

Cost of contractors is assessed at £3.7m. A significant cost of £2.3m is allowed for setting up Teckal companies and Trusts which are said to exempt the local authority from onerous EU procurement rules.

Ignite’s review indicated duplication in council processes and that “customer self-service is a patchwork quilt of separate solutions”.

The council has started individual meetings with staff and discussions with Unison. The council employs around 700 workers.

The Ignite report has been deemed “exempt from publication” by the council’s monitoring officer.

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