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Wandsworth/Richmond Jobs Fears

Friday, January 23, 2015

GMB Fear Richmond And Wandsworth Councils Creating Shared Staffing Structure Will Lead To Massive Job Losses

This will we on top of the already heavy loss of jobs that has taken place so far so we will meet with members in both boroughs to assess where we go on this says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff in local councils responded to the announcement that Wandsworth Council and Richmond-upon-Thames Council intend to create a shared staffing structure. See notes to editors for copy of statements by both councils.

Paul Grafton, GMB Regional Officer, said "GMB is very concerned that this announcement will lead to massive job losses on top of the already heavy loss of jobs that has taken place so far.

Richmond did link up with Kingston but that deal has been torn up we understand. GMB will meet with members in both boroughs to assess where we go on this."

End

Contact: Paul Grafton 07714 239092 or Paul Maloney 07801 343 839 or Michelle Gordon 07866 369259 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289 880.

Notes to editors

Copy of statements from both councils:

1 IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL WANDSWORTH COUNCIL STAFF - Sent: 23 January 2015

Today, Wandsworth Council and Richmond-upon-Thames Council have jointly announced their intention to create a shared staffing structure. The plan, subject to consideration by meetings of both Councils, is to move towards a unified staff group over the next two years. You can find Frequently Asked Questions here. Briefing sessions are taking place today and Monday for senior staff.

Chris Buss has agreed with the Leader of the Council and me that he will take flexible retirement in August, but remain in post working reduced hours for a further 18 months. The two councils have announced their intention that he should be succeeded by his opposite number in Richmond-upon-Thames. The Chief Executive in Richmond-upon-Thames has also announced her flexible retirement in the autumn, and she will similarly remain in post for a further year. The two councils have announced their intention that I should become the Chief Executive of both councils at that point.

I fully appreciate that this is an enormous change, coming after a period of intensive restructuring and cost reduction at Wandsworth Council. In setting us this challenge, the Leader of the Council is fully aware of the scale of the task ahead of us. Over recent years, the Council’s managers and staff have shown that they are not only capable of running some of the best council services in the country, but are equally able to lead and implement change. These skills and experience will be much needed over the coming period.

Further briefing sessions will be organised for all staff over the coming weeks. Please check Wandsworthi regularly for updates and further information.

Paul Martin

Chief Executive and Director of Administration

2 Newsflash from Richmond Council to staff

Dear Colleague,

At the end of last year, I announced that the programme to deliver all services jointly with Kingston Council was being suspended as it was not possible to agree a single, joint management approach which worked effectively for both boroughs.

Since then, Members and senior officers have been working to identify alternative ways to make the savings the Council needs.

As you know, the financial situation for all local councils remains challenging – with an expectation of the need to make significant further savings in the next four years.

To that end today, the Leaders of both Richmond and Wandsworth Councils are announcing their intention to create a shared staffing structure across both boroughs.

The plan is subject to consideration by meetings of both Councils, however it would see the creation of a single staffing structure across both Richmond and Wandsworth by March 2017, delivering savings of up to £10 million per year in each authority.

Initially the focus would be on merging staffing structures - reducing duplication, and the proportion of spending that goes on senior management. There will also be opportunities for further savings to reduce overheads, for example, getting better deals from suppliers when commissioning services.

Under the innovative proposals, the intention is that when I retire next year, the two Councils would be managed by a single Chief Executive, Paul Martin, currently Chief Executive at Wandsworth, as I have decided 2016 will be an appropriate time for me to retire.

It is intention that our current Director of Finance and Corporate Services – Mark Maidment – would become the joint Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Resources, as the Wandsworth Director of Finance will be retiring.

As with the Thames Agreement this is not about the merger of the two Councils. Both Councils would continue to be separate sovereign bodies with their own elected Councillors, Cabinets and Leaders, maintaining their distinct identities and retaining the ability to develop policies and priorities that matter to their local residents.

I know that this may come as a surprise to you, and you will have many questions and concerns. We are still in the early stages of our planning, however we have produced an initial list of FAQs and I will be hosting two all staff briefings in the next two weeks.

I know that there will be a number of staff who will have questions about my retirement, and I have produced a short blog that explains more. I would, however, hope to reassure you that over the next 18 months I will continue to be Richmond’s Chief Executive jointly leading this programme.

The All Staff briefings are on: 2 Feb 2-3pm AND 4 Feb 9.30-10.30am in the Clarendon Hall.

Shortly Gillian will release a blog and a separate email regarding the FAQs will be published.

Gillian Norton

Chief Executive

 

 

 

 

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