Revealed: Scores of jobs lost as Adur and Worthing councils’ workforce ‘cut to flesh’

Chief executive Alex Bailey
Chief executive Alex Bailey
  • Scores of jobs lost as part of restructures
  • Union warning over further cuts
  • Costs of councils’ top table revealed

Scores of jobs at Adur and Worthing councils have been lost in the last three years after a raft of restructures, figures obtained by the Herald have revealed.

The authorities are currently run by 830 employees – 162 fewer than the day chief executive Alex Bailey was hired in September 2013.

Mr Bailey has overseen numerous restructures, amid dwindling local government funds, which will require the councils saving more than £5million by 2021.

Lee Billingham, branch secretary for Adur and Worthing UNISON said: “We feel that things have been cut as far as they can be. We don’t want to be cutting down to the bone.

“We are at the flesh at this point but if we keep going the scalpel is going to hit through to the bone and that is not good for anybody.

“Staff, as always, will do our best and a lot are very professional and stoic. People will always make the best of things because they care passionately about the services we are providing to the public.”

A freedom of information request revealed restructures had saved a total of £908,100, including 42 voluntary redundancies, six retirements, ten resignations, one redeployment, one dismissal and two lost posts described as ‘efficiency of service’.

The figures were described by a council information officer as ‘not exhaustive’, with some unfilled vacant posts potentially not shown on the council’s records. By contrast, the restructures saw 21 new posts created.

A reshuffle of the council’s senior management – one of Mr Bailey’s key tasks as part of his ‘Catching the Wave’ agenda – saved £126,800, with the new structure costing £2.05million.

Among the largest restructures was within legal services, with 24 posts reduced to 17, saving £209,000.

Around 40 volunteers will be recruited at Worthing Theatres, with ten voluntary redundancies saving £53,000.

A council spokesman said the cultural team changes were not only about savings but creating a ‘resilient’ team to lead an improved service.

They said the council was confident its structures were ‘robust’ and driven by ‘thinking differently’, making its back office more efficient and a focus on working more closely with the community.

The spokesman added: “As a result of our transformation programme the councils have begun to work in a very different way to that seen two/three years ago.

“We are confident that our structures are robust and able to serve the needs of our communities. Our transformation has been powered by thinking differently - whether around infrastructure improvements to make back office processes more efficient or by inviting the community in to manage projects or spaces on our behalf.

“We have recognised that we are not (nor should we be) the ‘fonts of all knowledge’ on everything, and have adapted our working processes accordingly.”

An ongoing review of last year’s housing restructure is underway with ‘small-scale housing changes’ planned.

UKIP councillor for Lancing’s Widewater ward Geoff Patmore, has previously raised the issue of staffing pressures at full council meetings.

He said the effect of government cuts on staff nationwide was ‘profound’, while he believed the staff reductions locally would impact on services.

“I consider the spiralling down of local government is a precursor to mass privatisation of local services, which will lead to unaccountability and a much more expensive service which we the community charge payer will have to pay for,” he added.

UNISON has arranged talks to discuss the council’s future plans.

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Councils’ figures reveal cost of top team

Adur and Worthing councils’ senior leadership team will cost more than £2million in the current financial year, figures revealed.

The councils’ top table underwent a reshuffle shortly after chief executive Alex Bailey was hired, shaving £126,800 from the annual budget.

The figures, detailed below, are not just salaries but also include costs such as pension and national insurance contributions.

The role of director for communities, formerly held by John Mitchell until last month, is being advertised at a salary of around £92,000.

New structure

Chief executive - £138,670

Director for communities - £123,450

Director for customer services - £131,800

Director for digital and resources - £127,600

Director for economy - £125,030

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Chief financial officer - £100,510

Head of digital and design - £94,860

Head of legal - £88,880

Head of human resources - £35,000

Head of technical services - £87,420

Head of culture - £94,810

Head of growth - £97,010

Head of place and investment - £86,340

Head of environment - £90,630

Head of wellbeing - £87,070

Head of housing - £95,730

Head of customer engagement - £92,160

Head of building control and land charges - £83,420

Head of revenue and benefits - £81,710

Head of waste management and cleansing - £81,710

Head of communications £61,020

Head of organisational development - £45,250

Total: £2,050,080

Old structure (2013/14)

Corporate management team

Chief executive - £133,470

Strategic director 1 - £117,390

Strategic director 2 - £117,180

Executive head of financial services - £91,840

Executive head of planning, regeneration and wellbeing - £91,890

Executive head of corporate and cultural services - £91,920

Executive head of customer services, waste and recycling - £93,840

Executive head of housing, health and community safety - £92,390

Executive head of Adur Homes - £92,170

Executive head of technical services - £93,200

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‘Tier Four’

Corporate strategy manager - £74,710

Adur Homes manager - £79,870

Community wellbeing manager - £75,270

Parks manager - £63,930

Environmental health manager - £77,590

Building control manager - £76,340

Revenues and benefits manager - £55,340

Business and operations manager - £51,850

Business services manager - £68,430

Museum manager - £35,900

Theatres manager - £51,850

Parking manager - £56,680

Regeneration manager - £76,520

Planning policy manager - £74,710

Legal services manager - £74,710

HR manager - £47,550

Business analyst - £41,650

*PA to strategic director post (£26,420) deleted as part of restructure

Total (including one per cent per year inflation) - £2,176,880