Suffolk council chief warns of job losses

Hundreds of jobs will go at Suffolk County Council - but staff are not doing enough to prepare for the changes.That is the blunt message to thousands of council staff from chief executive Andrea Hill in her latest newsletter.

Hundreds of jobs will go at Suffolk County Council - but staff are not doing enough to prepare for the changes.

That is the blunt message to thousands of council staff from chief executive Andrea Hill in her latest newsletter.

Mrs Hill has warned that cutting jobs is not the answer to the council's financial problems, as a gap of �153m is expected to open up in the authority's budget by 2013.

She said in her newsletter: 'I am more convinced than ever that our new strategic direction is right. We spent many months co-authoring it and sharing it. My concern is that we are not delivering it.


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'People know the 'burning platform' of financial crisis is coming, but we are acting as if it's off the shores of Louisiana - too remote to affect us.'

It continued: 'There will be job losses. I don't know how many - if I did, I would tell you - but we need to reduce our staffing costs.

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'Just reducing our headcount however won't close our budget gap: I thought it would, but I was wrong. If we cut our managers by 30pc - that's about 400 posts - it would save �55m. So cutting jobs alone is not enough.

'I don't expect us to be running a big redundancy programme because we can't afford it.'

Mrs Hill says she wants to reduce the demand on the council's services: 'To prevent the �153m budget gap, we need to switch off the demand for our services in two ways: by addressing the root cause of social problems and fixing them once and for all; and by building social capital to strengthen communities to help themselves.'

Opposition leader Kathy Pollard was surprised by the tone of the newsletter.

She said: 'I'm not sure what she means about switching off the demand for services - how do you switch off the demand for children's services? How do you stop people becoming old and frail? Do you stop them from using libraries? It just doesn't make sense.

'And we pointed out that the council took on a lot of new members of staff last year. Is that all going to be pushed into reverse?'

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