By Ian Dipple Friday 18 January 2013 Updated: 18/01 14:24
BOROUGH council workers are being offered voluntary redundancy as bosses battle to deal with the impact of government funding cuts.
Staff have also been asked to consider part retirement and reduced hours to help plug a blackhole of £400,000 in the council's books for the next financial year. Workers were briefed by senior management last week and have until February 1 to respond. It is hoped enough people come forward so forced job losses can be avoided.
Council leader Bill Hartnett told the Standard: "Redundancies is a last resort and staff know this is not a knee-jerk reaction, their offers may not be accepted and maintaining our services is top of our list.
"The invitation for voluntary redundancy has been made across the board but in these austere times we are looking at spend across both councils to make the appropriate savings so we can still offer services to our customers and target money where it is needed most.
"Through shared services and business transformation we have already made savings particularly on top level salaries following the creation of a single management team and shared chief executive and I anticipate going forward, that transformation particularly is where we will see the majority of savings being made."
Managers and staff have also been asked to identify waste within their department and for money saving suggestions.
Only essential spending on measures which will save money or is necessary to provide a service to residents is being sanctioned.
The move is a result of the Government's austerity drive which will see Redditch Borough Council's government funding fall by almost £2.4million by 2015.
Bosses are under added pressure as the council's settlement for 2013/14 was the worst in the county and fell by £226,000 more than anticipated. A shortfall of over £600,000 is already being forecast for 2014/15 with a further gap of £200,000 the year after, without any additional cuts the Government may make.
In a bid to balance the books council chiefs will look at stepping up its transformation and shared services programme with neighbouring Bromsgrove District Council. Since 2009 it has delivered just under £2million in savings through having a joint chief executive and management team, resulting in 26 voluntary and 17 compulsory redundancies across both councils. Bosses have been criticised for receiving pay rises to take into account their extra workload, but a council spokeswoman said salaries had not been doubled and costs associated with pensions and National Insurance contributions had also been saved.
It was agreed at a full council meeting on Tuesday (January 15) Coun Hartnett would write to the Department of Communities and Local Government about the borough's poor funding settlement.
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