First redundancy wave planned at Somerset Council
Part of the grand plan for bringing 5 councils together into the new Somerset Council, was to save money. This could be done by avoiding duplication. Inevitably if you have five organisations each with a CEO, Finance Director etc, then with one organisation you’ll only need one of each. That would mean redundancies.
These redundancies, although they come at a human cost, are an integral part of making the cost savings count.
The first phase of redundancies have now been proposed in papers put to the next Somerset Council meeting. They all come from the ranks of directors and members of the leadership teams. The next full council meeting of Somerset Council on 24 May will be asked to approve them.
In total there are 29 redundancies and as Council Leader Bill Revans explained “that means we will lose 630 years of public sector experience.”
The redundancy costs include £543k for the former Chief Executive of Sedgemoor. There are two others receiving packages in excess of £400k and 3 receiving packages worth between £300k and £400k.
Bear in mind that when you make people redundant, the costs of redundancy have to be taken on the chin in the year of redundancies. The cost savings from having fewer people only come in future years. Obviously there was a plan for the merger to deliver cost savings from bringing the councils together. We asked Cllr Revans if he could confirm the costs and savings to be put to the 24 May meeting, were in line with that plan. He confirmed that they were which is certainly encouraging.
Somerset Council calculate the redundancy cost for this programme to work out at around £5m in the 2023/24 year. The cost savings in future years as a result of the redundancies, should equate to £2.6m. Which means the council will have a net benefit in cost saving after just over 2 years.
Assuming Full Council approves the proposals, then redundancy notices will be sent out on 29 May. The “dismissal” on grounds of redundancy will then become effective from 28 August.