Children’s services face job losses following Government cuts

UP TO 60 posts could be lost in Devon’s children’s services as a result of Government spending cuts.

The Government has told Devon to cut �3.1 million from its children’s services’ budget in the current financial year as part of a national reduction of 24 per cent in area based grants for specific services.

The county council’s Cabinet will be presented with a list of options at its meeting next Wednesday after which protective redundancy notices will be issued.

The Executive Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Anne Whiteley, says, depending on where the cuts fall, between 37 and 60 posts could be lost.

Many of these are part-time jobs and so the number of full-time equivalent posts will be less.

Mrs Whiteley will tell councillors: “In-year reductions are particularly difficult. It reduces the scope for redeploying staff and taking advantage of natural staff turnover.”

She says some grants would have ended next March in any case and although the in-year cut was unexpected it means managers are having to bring forward strategies to exit projects.

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County council leader John Hart said: “We obviously regret having to make any redundancies.

“We have to issue these protective redundancy notices under employment law but we are hopeful some jobs will go through natural wastage and other staff can be redeployed.

“We imposed a vacancy management programme last year which froze recruitment for all non-frontline jobs to prepare the county council for cuts and to try to protect against redundancies.

“That remains our policy but these are specific cuts made necessary because of the Government’s in-year reduction of funding which would be impossible for us to achieve without reducing posts. There may even be a knock-on effect on other jobs later in the year.

“We know spending cuts have to be made and times are going to be hard.

“This country can no longer go on spending four pounds for every three pounds it earns.

“But the public sector is a very important employer in Exeter and Devon and we will continue, where possible, to seek other ways of saving money as an alternative to redundancies.”