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Concerns raised over Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils’ move to Endeavour House as staff turnover doubles

PUBLISHED: 15:09 14 June 2018

Some staff left Babergh and Mid Suffolk after the councils moved to Endeavour House in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Some staff left Babergh and Mid Suffolk after the councils moved to Endeavour House in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Question marks have been raised over the effect the move of two Suffolk councils has had on its employees after latest figures showed staff turnover had more than doubled.

Figures presented to Mid Suffolk District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee revealed that for the 2017/18 financial year – the year Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils moved to Endeavour House in Ipswich – staff turnover was at 22.5%, compared to just 10.5% the year prior.

The report said that 122 employees left the two councils during that year, 20 of whom were on fixed term contracts for work specifically related to the move, which happened in September and October last year.

There were 23 members of staff who directly cited the move as a reason, although that figure could be more as employees are not required to provide a reason for their resignation.

The data also showed the number of sickness days lost had gone up by 550 days from 2015/’16, and that stress, anxiety or depression was the top reason.

Speaking after the committee, Mid Suffolk Green Party councillor Rachel Eburne said it was a concern that staff were leaving, and highlighted the loss of experience as having an impact on the council’s services.

She added: “There should have been, with hindsight, during a major move such as this putting in place measures before the move happened to help staff through that process.”

The committee heard that the planning team had suffered considerable staff turnover, with 17 people having left in the last 18 months, although Mid Suffolk chief executive Arthur Charvonia said the issue was not unique to Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

Comparative figures from other rural authorities are set to be compiled and presented to the committee in three months time to further assess the extent of the problem.

Officers revealed that a number of measures had been put in place, including the training of some staff as mental health nurses, and mechanisms for earlier intervention for staff members who were struggling.

It is also believed the move to Ipswich prompted some employees to leave earlier than they would have done otherwise.

Conservative councillor Glen Horn said: “I have been satisfied that we have done everything we can to mitigate the impacts of the move, and we did expect some changes.”

Committee member James Caston, also Conservative, added: “I have got a lot of confidence what is going on is moving in the right direction.

“There are certainly issues with the move that have been very difficult for some people,” but added: “I am confident things are getting better.”

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