The eight per cent fall in the numbers employed by Suffolk County Council, reported by the East Anglian Daily Times today, is substantial. But there is little in the way of an answer to the question of whether it is the right people who have gone.
Jane Storey, deputy leader of the council, told the paper:
We are restructuring the county and that is meaning that the number of jobs is falling. Most of those jobs are in administrative roles, coming from the restructuring, rather than in frontline services because we are aware that people still need the services we offer.
The information that a quarter of the 80 top paid staff have left in the past year, tends to confirm that claim.
But Cathy Pollard, the opposition leader, said:
Part of the problem is we have to take these figures at face value because there is no longer an effective human resources panel at the county.
Having said that, it is not clear whether this news is good or bad. We want the council to be more efficient and this should be going along that way – but we don’t really know whether these jobs are administrative or frontline.
The drop in the number of senior managers has saved £1.8m, out of a £7m estimate, in nine months. Redundancy costs are not known.
The total number of employees has fallen by 851 to 9,605 in a year, contributing to cost savings of £18m last year. This was about £2.8m more than expected.
Ms Storey said the number of carers had remained the same while there were now more social workers supporting vulnerable children and adults.