Bury St Edmunds/Forest Heath: Seven senior council posts will go as management merger voted through

SENIOR officers at two west Suffolk council will today be consulted about their future after proposals to merge their management were voted through.

Councillors from Forest Heath District Council last night voted 18 to one in favour of the creation of a Joint Management Team, which will work across their authority and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Council members at St Edmundsbury had already given their unanimous support to the proposals at a meeting on Wednesday night.

The management merger will mean cutting the posts of two directors and five heads of service as part of a “streamlining” initiative to save �2.5million.

Council Leader James Waters, proposing the restructure, said: “I think our staff are fully aware of how we need to do more with less. This will make every minute and every penny count.”

Chief executive of both authorities, Ian Gallin, said it was impossible to put an exact costing on the restructure, due to possible recruitment and salary costs, but added: “Rest assured, the savings will be significant.”

Mr Gallin said that consultations with members of staff affected by the restructure would begin today and continue next week before the recruitment process begins in September.

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He added that the council would be working to support anyone made redundant in the process.

The two new directors, who will replace two strategic directors at Forest Heath and two corporate directors at St Edmundsbury, as well as the new heads of service should be in place by October 1.

Councillor Tim Huggan, said he was concerned that savings came first and that local priorities could be “diluted” under the new system.

But only one councillor, David Gathercole, voted against the proposals.

Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, John Griffiths, described the proposals as another “milestone” in the sharing of services with Forest Heath before members voted in favour of the restructure on Wednesday.

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