Potential job losses at Norfolk council move a step closer

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 December 2012

Broadland District Council's offices in Thorpe St Andrew

Broadland District Council's offices in Thorpe St Andrew

Proposals to restructure a council department, which have put staff at risk of losing their jobs, have moved a step closer.

Broadland District Council’s economic development team is under review after a new head of the department was appointed.

Hamish Melville, who leads the service, has proposed cutting the number of management positions from six to three, while six further job posts are also planned to be deleted.

The people in these nine roles are at risk of potential redundancy.

But at least four new posts will be created, under the changes, with those people at risk in line to be recruited into these positions.

The service’s duties include supporting businesses, tourism and offering training courses.

The authority’s Conservative cabinet yesterday backed the restructure. Full council is expected to make a final decision on December 13.

Stuart Clancy, economic development portfolio holder, said the changes will make the department “fit for purpose in our economic climate”.

Mr Melville, asked about the response to his proposals, said: “All processes and due diligence and everything we had to do was done in line with HR [human resources] and all regulations that as a local authority we are bound by.

“It was clear and open and staff were invited to comment throughout.

“I would add 90pc-plus are totally supportive of this and have been throughout. The support I have received in moving this forward has been tremendous.”

During the consultation, Unison welcomed the timing of the review as appropriate but asked for compulsory redundancies to be a last resort.

Staff concerns included a lack of information to explain why certain changes were suggested.

But some supported the changes despite them putting their jobs at risk.

Broadland chief executive Phil Kirby also insisted yesterday the economic development review had followed the same processes as previous restructures.

Councillors and staff have criticised the authority’s decision to disband its strategy, community and housing, little more than 12 months after it was created.

Four people could lose their jobs under this proposal. A decision on these potential redundancies has been delayed to allow further research to be provided.

Mr Kirby said: “The process undertaken in going through the restructure and proposals in economic development was the same process we used for any restructure. It’s the same we used for strategy, community and housing and similar to when restructuring the organisation a year ago.

“I am sure it’s the same process we will continue to use for any future restructures.”

Unison and councillors have previously disputed statements that the strategy, community and housing review is following the same process as the economic development restructure.

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