Council spends £6m in pay-offs for more than 300 staff

Staffordshire County Council has spent £6.25 million on redundancy payouts over the last year as 339 people left their posts.

The council has always refused to give a figure for the number of job losses as part of its £102m of cuts, saying it is a continuous process.

But it has now revealed that 339 people were made redundant or took redundancy between August 2013 and July this year.

Deputy leader Ian Parry said redundancy was a last resort and the authority had worked hard to safeguard as many jobs as possible.

He said: “As a well-run council, we have adopted an approach which has focussed on working with both public and private sector partners to protect both jobs and frontline services, rather than deliver wholesale redundancies.

“New ventures such as partnerships with Entrust to deliver education support services in the county has safeguarded the jobs of hundreds of former employees and also brought in extra revenue to invest in services.

“We currently employee around 6,000 people and, very much as a last resort, redundancy terms were agreed with just under 340 people in the last 12 months.

"The total figure was less than the annual salary bill and worked out as the equivalent of around £18,000 per person.”

The redundancy payments totalled £6,257,049, which compared to salary costs of £6,670,329.53. It works out at an average payout of around £18,457 per worker.

The county council is battling to make £102 million of savings over the next five years.

Today's news comes after it was revealed that recruitment is also being slashed at the authority in a bid to save £1m.

The council has said it will only replace 'essential staff ' for the coming year and has halted recruitment of jobs it classes as non-essential.

Bosses said they would try to protect frontline services and recruitment of temporary workers and consultants will also be cut.

The authority has already sparked outrage for reducing its grants for elderly and vulnerable people, with hundreds losing out on emergency pendant alarms to let people know if they have suffered a fall.

Up to 34 youth clubs across the county also face closure unless other organisations take them over. And volunteers are being drafted in to run 24 of the county’s 43 libraries in a bid to save £1.3 million.