Scottish Borders Council plans to cut 130 posts

Scottish Borders CouncilScottish Borders Council has estimated that 130 posts may be reduced as part of making efficiencies in the coming financial year, though it has ensured that this will not result in the loss of any staff.

As the local authority prepares to outline its budget proposals for 2016/17, council leader David Parker confirmed that they would see 130 posts “come out of the organisation”, which currently employs about 4,500 staff.

Mr Parker was previously quoted as saying that the local authority hoped to keep any compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

“We expect to be able to achieve most of that, or all of that, by voluntary means,” he told the BBC.

“In a large scale organisation there will always be a small number of compulsory redundancies - you will never be able to completely avoid that.

“But we don’t use compulsory redundancy as a tool to reduce the workforce as it is expensive and it is not something that really is worthwhile and we won’t be using that this year.”

However the council has since sought to clarify its position regarding the manner in which the number of posts will be reduced.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that this is not 130 people losing their jobs,” it said.

“The calculation is based on an average salary and the actual number of posts is likely to be far lower than 130. The fact that we currently have 300 vacancies highlights that there is obvious potential for us to be flexible in how we achieve these reductions, ensuring the impact on existing staff is minimal.

“Every vacancy is assessed before it is advertised to determine whether there is a definite requirement for it, or whether restructuring or more efficient ways of working would allow posts to be reduced.”

Councillor Parker added: “Out of a total workforce of almost 5,000, an estimated 130 less job opportunities through the use of existing vacancies, natural turnover and ER/VS is actually a positive story given the current economic climate and the very challenging times that local authorities are facing.

“It is unfortunate that our extremely well managed reduction in posts, so as to avoid wherever possible actually impacting existing staff, has not been reported in this way and has led to criticism of the Council and concern in the local community.”

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