Banded around

WE HAVE read in the papers about potential job losses at the council in order to cut costs and make council tax savings. Over the years, job cuts seem to be banded around at budget time but it all turns out alright in the end. Could I ask, through the Mer

WE HAVE read in the papers about potential job losses at the council in order to cut costs and make council tax savings.Over the years, job cuts seem to be banded around at budget time but it all turns out alright in the end. Could I ask, through the Mercury, three questions:* How many 'at risk' letters have been sent out to employees likely to lose jobs? I ask this because the letters would have to be sent out by Christmas if the council was to maximise a full year's savings from any job cuts on March 31, 2008.* Secondly, how many unfilled - therefore vacant posts - will be counted as part of a 'jobs cut' exercise? I ask this because it will mean people are not being put out of a job but that the council has obviously functioned with a vacant post and can continue to do so.* Finally, how many of these job cuts will be people volunteering or taking early retirement? Again, I ask this because early retirement monies will surely come from capital assets and affect pension funds.I believe the council leader estimated that 200 jobs are 'at risk' in this budget round. Perhaps the Mercury could keep a watching brief to tell us how many council employees actually lose their jobs. I suspect none - apart from those wishing to escape with an enhanced package through early retirement.NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED* The Times asked the council to answer the questions put by our correspondent and the reply from Councillor Tony Lake, executive member for finance, property and HR, follows: "Since our election in May we have been actively managing vacancies and some posts have not been filled. "This has created flexibility and possibilities for redeployment. The headline figure does show a reduction in posts but we are working very hard to avoid compulsory redundancies. Firm vacancy management has resulted in salary budgets projecting an under spend of £402,000. We are part way through a sensitive consultation process with North Somerset Council staff and trade unions. It would be inappropriate to comment in detail at this stage.


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