Suffolk: County job numbers continue to fall

Endeavour House - Suffolk County Council's headquarters

Endeavour House - Suffolk County Council's headquarters - Credit: Archant

The number of people directly employed by Suffolk County Council has fallen to 4,500 from a high of just under 11,000 three years ago.

The fall in the number of employees is partly as a result of a reduction in the number of jobs at the county – but largely because of the number of services that have been transfered out of direct county council control.

People employed in schools are not included in the figures.

The figures are contained in a document to be discussed by the county’s audit committee next week – the Annual Governance Statement which is a legal requirement of the annual statement of accounts.

The statement points out that many aspects of the council’s work was divested over the last year – including libraries, care homes, travel services (including school buses), and property services.

The council also took on some new staff when it took over responsibility for public health in the county.

Over the next year there are two further divestments in the pipeline – the highway maintenance contract and the management of the Thorpe Woodlands activity centre near Thetford.

Most Read

However the number of county council staff could increase at the end of the next financial year because the contract with Customer Service Direct comes to an end in May 2014 and some of the services and staff will be brought back “in house” after then.

Colin Noble, cabinet member for finance, said: “Across the council, we are working with partners to find sustainable solutions to the financial challenges we’re facing.

“In a number of case and in order to secure their future, this involves transferring services and staff to other organisations, or creating new ones. Suffolk’s now-thriving library service is one of our most obvious success stories in this regard.

“While there are currently no new transfers planned, we have to face up to the reality that we need to save an additional £150 million in the next four years.”

One possible divestment in the pipeline is a suggestion that the schools’ support service should be transfered to new body owned by schools and academies themselves with the county having a minority stake.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter