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.
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.
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
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
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
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