APPROXIMATELY 100-plus staff look set to lose their jobs after central Government cuts turned up the heat on Woking Borough Council.
The News & Mail can reveal that a £3 million shortfall in funding has forced the local authority to contract out a range of ‘back office’ transactional services to business outsourcing solutions group Capita from November.
Positions affected are to include roles dealing with applications in finance, IT, revenues and benefits, planning and customer services.
Staff were briefed on the situation on Thursday (May 8) by Chief Executive Ray Morgan, and there was a further briefing the following Tuesday for those who couldn’t make it.
A source said redundancies will be offered to all staff members, regardless of whether they will be affected.
Other options include TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) transfers to Capita, although the outsourcing could be based as far afield as Coventry and Sheffield. Confirmation of those affected is due in August.
A council statement to the News & Mail said: “In response to a press enquiry, Ray Morgan, Chief Executive, confirmed that in a staff briefing to his Woking Borough Council colleagues, he outlined the financial challenges facing the authority over the next three years as central Government continues to withdraw its financial support from councils.
It is expected that over that period Woking will lose up to £3m in financial support leaving it the challenge of meeting increasing service demand from its own resources.
“In the briefing he explained that the council’s strategy was to regenerate the local economy, protect or enhance services for local people, continue to invest in revenue generating assets and continue to reduce the cost of delivering services.
“To enable the council to achieve further cost savings in delivering its existing services, it would be necessary to pursue the outsourcing of a range of transactional services.
“Over the coming months, detailed work will be undertaken to finalise contractual arrangements and to help staff adversely affected by the proposals before seeking formal council approval in October.”
Subject to the council’s approval, the revised arrangements will be implemented later this year and into 2015, with the full savings being achieved by 2016, when it is expected that the majority of central Government funding will have been withdrawn.
The statement added: “These changes, taken tog-ether, are expected to make a significant contribution to the savings required by the council, and will assist in ensuring that local
services are maintained.
“In concluding his briefing, Mr Morgan said he was sorry that this had become necessary and that he would do all he could to compassionately deal with those colleagues adversely affected by these changes.”