Babergh/Mid Suffolk: Councils axe 35 posts and save �1.2m

TWO Suffolk district councils are on course to save around �1.2million after axeing more than 30 jobs as they look to further integrate their services.

Mid Suffolk and Babergh are recruiting a team of new corporate managers to serve both authorities. So far 30 have been appointed and another four posts are still to be filled.

The entire shake-up has led to a drop from 81 posts to 46, a reduction of 35 saving an estimated �1.2m. Much of the cost-cutting has been made through natural wastage, early retirements and people choosing to leave, but there will be some redundancies, thought to be in single figures, said Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council.

Sue Carpendale, Liberal Democrat group leader on Babergh, said: “We have no choice but to make these changes and we have got to transform ourselves radically. It’s rough on everyone in the public sector and it’s such a shame to lose anyone as we have so many dedicated people and I cannot say that there will not be more losses to come.

“The new team have an absolutely crucial role to play and I’m 100% behind what’s happening as we have got to make massive savings over the years to come.”

Simon Barrett, Babergh councillor for Sudbury South, added: “This is the way forward. There is a breath of fresh air in the council corridors and new people in place with a fresh approach.”

Babergh and Mid Suffolk have now completed the first phase of their re-shaping.

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They will now start the process of working out what else is required to meet the financial challenges ahead – with both authorities needing to find a further �3.5m of savings in the next three years.

Mr Passmore said: “The next phase of our development will provide the basis for the councils’ innovative responses both to the challenges of continuing public sector financial cutbacks and the opportunities presented by new and more flexible ways of working for the communities.”

Jennie Jenkins, chair of strategy committee at Babergh, added: “Local councils will need to find ever increasing savings for at least the next 10 years. We will need to fundamentally rethink what we do and how we do it.”

The new team is headed up by chief executive Charlie Adan, who was appointed in May 2011.

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