Top Jobs to Be Squeezed out at Council; Birmingham City Council's Financial Difficulties Have Finally Hit the Rarefied Heights of the Corporate Management Team, Explains Public Affairs Correspondent Paul Dale

The Birmingham Post (England), February 18, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Top Jobs to Be Squeezed out at Council; Birmingham City Council's Financial Difficulties Have Finally Hit the Rarefied Heights of the Corporate Management Team, Explains Public Affairs Correspondent Paul Dale


Byline: Paul Dale

Ten of Birmingham's best known and highest paid civic officials are fighting to save their jobs in the latest round of cost-cutting consultation.

The directors and assistant directors, most of whom earn more than pounds 120,000 a year, have been told by chief executive Stephen Hughes that they are at risk of being made redundant if proposals to remove a whole tranche of civic officialdom are approved.

No decisions have been made yet, but a major reshuffle of the management team could see 11 senior jobs axed, to be replaced by four new super-posts.

The shake-up, which would save pounds 1.4 million a year in wages and on-costs, follows an announcement that the council is looking to get rid of up to 2,000 jobs across the board during 2010/11 in response to expected government-imposed public spending cuts.

Most of the threatened job losses announced so far are expected to be further down the employee chain.

But for the first time in many years, a reshuffle of the top decks is also under way.

Mr Hughes issued a consultation document - "Reorganisation of Corporate Centre" - setting out proposals for a slimmed-down executive workforce.

Jobs earmarked to disappear include posts currently held by the corporate directors of resources, Paul Dransfield, of governance, Mirza Ahmad, of public affairs and communications, Debra Davis, and of policy and delivery, Jason Lowther.

The city's Corporate Director of Business Change, Glyn Evans, the man behind a pounds 900 million business transformation efficiency programme, is also vulnerable. His job could disappear along with the Scrutiny Director post, held by veteran council employee John Cade.

A raft of jobs just under the highest level will also go if Mr Hughes's plans are approved.

Posts held by Assistant Director of Finance, Alison Jarrett, Assistant Director of Revenues and Benefits, Chris Gibbs, Assistant Director of Shared Services, Jean Robb and Assistant Director of Customer Services, Paul Higgins are at risk of being removed.

The axed jobs are likely to be replaced by four new positions, which any of the officials threatened by redundancy could apply for.

The new positions are: Strategic Director of Resources, Director of Democracy and Scrutiny, Director of Transactional Services and Director of Policy.

Mr Hughes, understandably, is unwilling to discuss in any detail the ramifications of what is likely to be a desperate stampede by some of the biggest names in English local government to hang on to their jobs.

A spokesman for the chief executive said: "Proposals to re-structure the senior management of the Chief Executive's Directorate are currently being consulted upon as part of the ongoing effort to make the council's services as efficient and effective as possible.

"All directorates, from top to bottom, are continually looking at ways to provide the best possible value for money for citizens, given the challenging public finance context that local government faces. No tier of staffing is immune from possible change as the council strives to provide first-class services.

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Top Jobs to Be Squeezed out at Council; Birmingham City Council's Financial Difficulties Have Finally Hit the Rarefied Heights of the Corporate Management Team, Explains Public Affairs Correspondent Paul Dale
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