Against the backdrop of an ever decreasing financial base upon which to deliver services – due to a reduction in government funding and increased costs – the Isle of Wight Council says it needs to reduce its net spend by some £13.5 million in the next financial year and is therefore looking at different ways of delivering services and allocating its resources to essential services.
It has been announced today (Tuesday) that there is potential for around 152 job losses across the authority between now and the end of March 2016.
A full range of support and guidance is being offered to those who may be affected. In order to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum, options including job sharing, reduced hours, flexible retirement, voluntary retirement and voluntary redundancy will be closely looked at as part of the consultation process with staff and unions.
Over the past year the council has been considering ways to reduce costs within the organisation in order to meet the level of savings required. This has included reviewing the costs of all council services, improving business processes and utilising technology more effectively, developing preventative strategies to reduce the demand for high cost crisis care among our older and more vulnerable residents and looking at ways of increasing the amount of income the council generates.
Due to the extent of savings required, not just over the coming year but in following years too, it has become clear that savings in these areas alone will not be enough to meet the budget gap.
Councillor Ian Stephens, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said:
“As we prepare next year’s budget we are continuing to explore a range of options in order to keep the number of redundancies to a minimum, however due to the scale of savings we need to find unfortunately some job losses will be inevitable. We really value the hard work and commitment of our work force and the council will be doing all it can to provide help and support to staff during this difficult time.”
The council will be liaising with recognised trade unions throughout the consultation period, which will last 45 working days from yesterday (Monday 1st December).
A proposed revised vision and set of priorities for the council, along with an affordable model for how the council needs to operate in the future in order to deliver them and an overall budget strategy will go before the council’s Executive in January next year, with the final recommendations and budget proposals being put forward for approval at Full Council on 25th February 2015.