Jobs cull for county council top earners

MORE than 40 of the highest paid managers at Norfolk County Council have lost their jobs as part of a massive shake-up package - and 56 more posts could follow.

MORE than 40 of the highest paid managers at Norfolk County Council have lost their jobs as part of a massive shake-up package - and 56 more posts could follow.

The county council says the shedding of 44 posts following a review of the 600 most senior managers will save �2.6m over a full year.

The shake-up of senior management at County Hall began in January, but yesterday was the first time the full extent of the cull has been revealed.

The county council enlisted consultants from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) to help them

identify the savings - and had set aside �300,000 in its budget to pay them.

At a meeting of the county council cabinet yesterday, council leader Daniel Cox revealed 44 senior management posts had been axed.

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The council said it had spent just over �144,000 on the consultants and said the principles they used would now be used for further streamlining.

Council bosses said that would see a further 56 posts get the chop - a saving of �1.5m which would take the overall savings to �4.1m.

Mr Cox said: “We have moved quickly to implement the principles of the PwC report and are confident the revised structure and reorganised directorates represent excellent value for money for the public.

“But with the need to deliver value for money always in our minds, we are standardising and streamlining services where we can to achieve additional savings as we gear up for the autumn spending review, which will undoubtedly require us to stretch limited resources further than ever before.

“Our council has a very strong track record of efficient financial management and, while we will always continue to seek efficiency savings where we can, I have no doubt that the county council of the future is going to look very different.

“In the weeks ahead, we will be discussing with Norfolk people how, by radical thinking, we

might best change for the future so that the limited resources we do receive are made to stretch even further.”

More than 90 county council posts are also disappearing as a result of the government's “in-year” grant reductions which total just over �10m.

That includes 65 jobs which would be lost when �2.8m is being taken away from the Connexions project, which provides advice and guidance to thousands of young people aged from 13 to 19.

Jonathan Dunning, secretary for the Norfolk branch of trade union Unison, said: “If a council is saying it needs to review structures and posts then it is good to include senior managers as well as the rest of the staff.

“But what we are campaigning against is the disparate approach to Connexions, where 50pc of jobs could be lost.

“If you look at the posts being lost in senior management, it's not 50pc there.”

Mr Dunning added Unison did not think any money needed to be spent on external consultants.

He said: “We objected to spending of the money on the consultants because we felt we could do the work ourselves internally.

“In fact that is what has been done in children's services, so it is a bit of a red herring to suggest that the consultants have saved us all this money.”

The figures were revealed after John Martin, a member of the public, raised a question at a meeting of the county council cabinet yesterday.