Andrea Hill: Suffolk County Council ‘to shed 1,000 jobs’

THE chief executive of Suffolk County Council yesterday denied the authority was planning to get rid of thousands of jobs – instead saying just 1,000 positions were expected to go.

Andrea Hill was speaking at New Bury Community Centre on Bury St Edmunds’ Howard Estate where she met residents to discuss their views on county council services.

Yesterday the EADT reported that Jane Storey, the deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, had denied the authority was planning to outsource more than 26,000 jobs, despite an official report revealing the figure.

When she was quizzed by resident Richard Mortlock on how many job losses there might be, Ms Hill said: “We have 28,000 staff and so far we expect it to be something like 1,000 job losses. Out of 28,000 that’s not a huge number and some people have already gone.”

She added: “We have had a recruitment freeze on for quite some time now and that’s reduced the size of the county council by not bringing on new people.”

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Mr Mortlock, of Mildenhall Road Estate Residents’ Association, had asked Ms Hill whether the outsourcing was simply a proposal by an extreme right-wing administration served by a seriously overpaid council executive, quoting a comment in a newspaper.

Ms Hill denied they were outsourcing council services to the private sector.

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“You may have read sometimes we are going to reduce the council to between 200 and 500 staff. We are not going to do that,” she said. “That was a figure that was actually put out by the unions.”

How many staff would ultimately be employed by the county council was not yet known, but she added a huge part of the 28,000 were involved in education.

“This is not about job losses. This is about finding a different way to deliver public services,” she said.

The New Strategic Direction would be a “radical transformation of the organisation.”

“What we want to do is simplify the council to make it less complicated and bureaucratic so we can protect frontline services as much as possible,” she said.

The authority was facing a budget gap of between �110million and �125m over the next four years.

Ms Hill met residents from the Mildenhall and Howard estates at the New Bury Community Centre after a tour of the Tower Division with county councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer.

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