Staff being axed at region’s museums and libraries trust

Coldstream Museum
Coldstream Museum

A dozen employees of Live Borders – the trust that runs the region’s libraries, museums, halls and community centres – will leave it tomorrow as it looks to cut its wage bill.

A year after Scottish Borders Council handed running of those services over to the trust, the staff leaving this week are among 32 members of staff who applied to leave the trust under the council’s early retirement and voluntary service programme.

Those leaving include a senior librarian, senior duty manager, museum curator, performing arts co-ordinator, visual arts officer, senior clerical officer and marketing and operations manager.

The dozen departures will result in one-off costs of £338,000, but afterwards there will be an annual wage bill saving of £320,000.

In November last year, Live Borders chief executive officer Ewan Jackson wrote to employees, advising them of the need for the trust to make “significant” savings and inviting them to consider applying to leave the organisation.

At that time, the council had agreed to reduce its current annual management fee of £6.6m – 60% of Live Borders’ budget – by £521,000.

It is understood that this would have required the trust, also in charge of sports facilities and swimming pools across the region, to shed around 18 jobs.

But last month, after the council received an extra £2.8m from the Scottish Government, £200,000 of that anticipated cut to the trust was reinstated.

“Savings from the 12 applications for early retirement and voluntary severance are considered necessary to allow Live Borders to meet its savings target for 2017/18,” states a report to today’s full council meeting by Linda Ross, director of business services.

“If approval is not given, the savings will not be fully realised.”