Headlines: December 15th, 2010

Estimates of job losses in local government following the spending settlement range from 70,000 to 140,000 posts, but the losses are likely to be much greater in deprived areas where often unemployment is already high. This disparity in settlement reductions has occurred because funding previously ring-fenced for deprived authorities is being rolled into the overall grant.

The disparity is highlighted in the case of Hastings where the reduction will be more than 30 per cent. Hastings ranks 31 in the deprived area league, unemployment is high and wage rates are low.

The downsizing challenge for councils at the higher end of the deprived areas league will be extreme because they will have to cope with high levels of uncertainty and stress. The top management team will have to explain to all staff why the cuts are being made and keep them fully informed about plans. HR departments will be under great pressure in supporting those who are made redundant and in helping them to find another job.

Andy Robling, Public Services Director at Hays said: “With a large deficit to tackle, the reduction of funds allocation is not unexpected but job cuts must be handled properly. Our research shows many public sector organisations understand the need to keep staff informed, that they are taking action to ensure the top team is visible and that they regularly communicate with individuals across the organisation, so that they understand reasons for change and input where necessary.”

He added “Success depends on organisations supporting all employees through this period of transition. Those who are made redundant, both emotionally and practically with finding a new job, as well as those who are left behind. With more workers than ever before moving out of the public sector it’s important to make sure those who are made redundant are able to identify where their transferable skills lie and how they can best present themselves to give them the greatest chances of finding a new role.”