Staff exodus ‘attractive proposition’ for SBC

savings of just under £500,000 a year will be made if Scottish Borders Council approves early retirement and voluntary severance packages for 20 members of staff when it meets today (Thursday).

In the latest round of voluntary staffing cuts 79 members of staff initially expressed interest in taking either early retirement or voluntary redundancy and after all were evaluated 20 remained.

There will be a one-off cost to the council of £782,809. On average the financial payback varies from five months to two years nine months, the average payback being 1.58 years which was described to councillors as “an attractive proposition for the council”.

Staffing levels in the environment and infrastructure department will be reduced by nine in this latest round of savings, although it is recommended that one job is replaced.

Education and lifelong learning will lose five staff, resources department will also lose five but two will be replaced, and the chief executive’s department one.

There are still a number of staff from social work whose cases are still being reviewed.

It is expected they will come before the council next month for a final decision.

In August SBC agreed to create provision within the budget to fund early retirement and voluntary severance packages, councillors recognising the need to reduce the number of staff in order to be able to afford its current and future financial plans.

The scheme was then opened up to all members of staff indefinitely, except teachers, so that the council can cut numbers as far as possible without having to resort to compulsory redundancies.

In her report, Clair Hepburn, acting human resources manager, said: “Failure to agree the voluntary severance/early retirement proposals or a significant proportion thereof, will result in an inability by the council to deliver a number of its commitments within the 2011-12 financial plan.

“It is also necessary that agreement by members is secured as a matter of urgency in order that the necessary arrangements are put in place quickly and a plan of implementation developed in order that the maximum financial benefit from the scheme can be accrued as early in 2011/12 as possible.”