Following widespread reports in the media and comments online that Scottish Borders Council is making 130 job cuts, the council is clarifying the position regarding the manner in which the number of posts will be reduced.
SBC want to make it absolutely clear that this is not 130 people losing their jobs, as some media reports and comments online are suggesting.
130 posts - not people - is the total estimated figure of posts that may be reduced as part of making efficiencies in the coming financial year. The calculation is based on an average salary and the actual number of posts is likely to be far lower than 130.
The fact that the Council currently has 300 vacancies highlights that there is obvious potential for the Council to be flexible in how they achieve these reductions, ensuring the impact on existing staff is minimal.
Every vacancy is assessed before it is advertised to determine whether there is a definite requirement for it, or whether restructuring or more efficient ways of working would allow posts to be reduced.
Alongside this, the Council has a natural staff turnover level of 9.77%, which will also contribute to a managed reduction of the workforce without impacting on existing staff.
The council is also undertaking a ‘People Planning’ process which aims to support managers to consider the current workforce make-up, think about where they will be in the coming years and plan ahead to manage changes effectively.
Once the People Planning Review has concluded, if there is a requirement to consider Early Retirement and Voluntary Severance (ER/VS) in any section or department, staff in that area will be invited to apply if they wish to do so. Again, this will contribute to the very carefully managed reduction in posts.
Council leader, councillor David Parker said: “Out of a total workforce of almost 5,000, an estimated 130 less job opportunities through the use of existing vacancies, natural turnover and ER/VS is actually a positive story given the current economic climate and the very challenging times that local authorities are facing.
“It is unfortunate that our extremely well managed reduction in posts, so as to avoid wherever possible actually impacting existing staff, has not been reported in this way and has led to criticism of the Council and concern in the local community.”