Devon councils plan to axe up to 100 staff jobs
A Devon council has taken a step closer to pooling office staff with a neighbouring authority in a move which could see 100 people lose their jobs.
Members of the resources committee of West Devon Borough Council this week approved the bid, which along with South Hams District Council could mean a quarter of their desk staff are axed.
A spokesman for the Tavistock-based authority, said no final decisions had yet been reached.
"The councillors have agreed with all the recommendations in their report," he said. "They have asked officers to put together detailed plan so that it can be considered properly.
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"This is likely to go to the next meeting of the full council in November. Nothing final has been decided."
In 2011 with local government cutbacks looming, West Devon Borough Council agreed a project to deliver a range of programmes and savings by 2015.
However, a report to the resources committee said the gap between income and expenditure had grown and the previously-agreed model had to be ditched and replaced with deeper cost cutting, for both West Devon and South Hams.
It said: "Between 2014 and 2018, the councils have a combined total budget gap of £4.7 million in the context of a combined net revenue spend of £16.8m.
"Both councils have accepted that to continue the current approach of annual reductions in line with the medium term financial strategy is no longer achievable without undermining future service delivery." The report said that a new programme had to be agreed, complete with job losses as soon as November.
Officers say that by closer working, £3.5 million a year could be saved if just under a quarter of office-based staff were shed and that this could be done "without undermining the provision of key elements of front line services."
The report says that while savings are primarily generated with a "reduction in head count," office space may also have to be rationalised and "agile working" adopted.
This could mean relocating staff from existing headquarters to a new office base.
The report to the committee includes a long list of risk, including potential impact of national/local elections in 2015 and managing staff morale during a period of change.
South Hams District Council is discussing the same proposal today.