Council saved more than £300k spent on redundancies

BOSSES have paid almost £300,000 out in redundancy payments at South Holland District Council in the last two years – but say they have already recovered that cash and more through savings.

Figures released to the Spalding Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act show that the amount of redundancy money paid rose nearly ten times from 2009/10 to 2010/11, jumping from £10,219 to £101,263.

Current figures for 2011/12 show that spend has increased further to £190,850 as the council’s new merged service arrangements with East Lindsey and Breckland district councils have seen job numbers cut.

That means a total spend on redundancy so far of £292,113 since the start of 2010/11.

A council spokesman says that Breckland and South Holland earmarked a £770,000 pot in their reserves for redundancy and retirement payments, and has spent £519,000 less than that with the cost split between both authorities.

The merged services agenda is said to have saved South Holland £500,000 a year – meaning it will take less than a year to recover the cash paid in redundancy in the past two years.

The spokesman said that further savings will be made in 2012/13 with posts likely to be cut, but it is too early to say if that will mean anyone else is made redundant.

The spokesman said: “The savings that are coming through – just at the South Holland end – are in the order of £500,000 a year so the payback in terms of redundancy costs is less than a year.

“At this stage there are no further planned redundancies but we are working on future savings for 2012/2013 and it’s likely that in order to make these savings that we will have to reduce the number of staff that we employ. Whether that will necessitate redundancies is too early to tell.”

The merged management team saw the number of top officers across the two councils cut from 37 to 18.

A back office merger, which saw firm Compass Point set up to handle business for South Holland and East Lindsey saw 299 workers compete for 205 posts, although some posts were filled by more than one person.