Express & Star

'Uncertainty and anxiety': Six management posts to go in council restructures

Six management posts are being axed – with two staff members facing redundancy – as part of a restructure of roles at two councils.

Cannock Chase District Council's offices in Cannock

Cannock Chase Council and Stafford Borough Council agreed in 2022 to share most services, with the exception of elections and housing.

A framework setting out how the process will take place was agreed by both authorities last year and restructure work is now taking place.

On Thursday Cannock Chase Council’s cabinet was asked to consider the new joint senior management structure and approve redundancy costs, which will be shared with Stafford Borough Council.

A cabinet report said: “Overall, there is a reduction of six manager posts but the funding from three of these is being reserved to create team leader posts to support the new broader manager roles.

"Of the six posts deleted, four are currently vacant and this has reduced, but not completely eliminated, the need for redundancies in creating the new structure.

“There are two redundancies which have arisen due to proposals in two areas to reduce from two service managers down to one.

"These proposals have placed a total of four individuals at risk of redundancy [and] consultation on these proposals has resulted in a ring-fenced selection for two individuals in each option.

“In the case of one of the proposals, one of those at risk indicated that they did not wish to compete for the combined role and would therefore accept the redundancy terms. For the other proposal, a selection process has been followed, resulting in a further redundancy.

“The new service manager structure is due to be implemented with effect from June 1. The manager tier structure is likely to evolve further over the next two to three years as the wider sharing of services embeds and transformation work is completed."

The new structure is expected to save £178,000 across both councils, the report added. Cabinet members said their thoughts were with staff affected by the restructure however, in particular those facing redundancy.

Councillor Andrea Muckley said: “Having been made redundant twice in my history, because my business is legal aid, I want to raise a couple of issues on behalf of staff. When you have things like restructure and redundancies staff can be very frightened, anxious and unsure of what is going to happen next.

“I would reiterate the importance of transparency where we can, and remembering staff are people. A bit of patience with them while they regroup and a bit of reassurance would go a long way.

“As councillors I am sure we are all thinking of everyone going through this process. We know there will be a lot of uncertainty and a lot of anxiety and we want to keep morale up.

“We have got good officers here and we want to keep them. I want to let staff know I am thinking of them, cabinet are thinking of them and we will do what we can; it is an awful process to go through but support is there.”

Council leader Tony Johnson said: “Humanity is vital and it’s sad to lose people. From my own experience of redundancy, people worry about the things they don’t know.

“If we give people the information it makes the process more transparent and better for all concerned. I’m aware the senior management team meet regularly with staff to discuss arrangements.”