EXCLUSIVE: Internal email leaked to Inside Croydon confirms 15% cuts to council budgets, with redundancy consultations going on until August 21.
STEVEN DOWNES reports
The first steps towards making hundreds of council employees redundant began at lunchtime today, with department managers contacting affected staff, often by phone or video link because social distancing measures continue at Fisher’s Folly.
As exclusively revealed by Inside Croydon last week, an emergency financial review has included recommendations of 15 per cent cuts from the council’s budget in response to the pressures put on the Town Hall’s finances by more than £80million additional spending during the first two months of the coronavirus lockdown.
In an internal email sent to staff today by chief exec Jo Negrini (annual pay package: £220,000-plus), she said, “Today is the start of the formal consultation period for the staffing review, which is set to run for the next 45 days. As you know from my messages over the past few weeks, this morning (6 July) the council’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) met with trade unions to formally present and share proposals.
“[The Executive Leadership Team] have been working with directors to make savings in each of their divisions, looking at ways to reduce their staffing budget against a 15 per cent target. At the same time we’ve been working to save money through the recruitment and agency controls that have been in place for the last six months. This means that we’ve been able to keep the numbers of potential staff cuts as low as possible.
“Directors are now contacting everyone that is directly affected. Not being able to see each other and talk this through in person is really difficult so please do bear with us while we make sure that everyone that is at risk gets the chance to hear from, and chat with, their service leads before we share more information.
“These important discussions are understandably sensitive, so it’s really important that all of us are respectful and supportive of each other while this happens.
“As soon as all of the conversations have taken place, we will then be able to share more detail with all staff. This will include publishing an overview consultation document – which everyone can take a look at and feedback on.
“Consultation is a two-way process, which means giving information, listening and reflecting on feedback. The leadership team will make sure that this consultation looks at how we can keep the number of compulsory redundancies as low as possible – and that everyone is properly supported.
“We will also hold another [Executive Leadership Team] panel webinar for all staff in the week commencing 20 July. It will be a chance for us to answer any wider questions you have about our financial position, the rationale behind the review and what this all means for the council.”
Under the heading “Fairness and equality”, Negrini’s email then continued: “I have given you my commitment that this process will be open and fair – and will be scrutinised throughout. We have carried out an equality analysis of the proposals and will continue to monitor this for the duration of the consultation.
“One challenge is that not everyone has disclosed their equalities information. We use this data to monitor the impact of change and highlight if there is any difference for any equality group. If you haven’t disclosed your information please help us by using this form to do so now.
“The consultation is expected to last until the 21 August. At the end of the process, having considered feedback from staff and trade unions, final proposals will be confirmed and selection for redundancy will take place.
“Please do read the information we issue and have your say. You can do this by talking to your trade union, director or by emailing the [staff review] inbox, which will be managed by HR.
“This is a really difficult time for everyone involved, so make sure you talk to your managers if you have concerns and use our wellbeing pages for the latest support resources and guidance.
“I will share more detail with you as soon as possible.
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