Stoke-on-Trent City Council appear to be in a state of utter disarray around the officer & staff redundancies.
In the supposed culture of openness and transparency that seems to be mentioned at every available opportunity something seems to be lacking.
According to page 31 of the reports pack for the Improving Communities O&S Committee that sat on 25 January, everyone is fully aware and supportive of the redundancies.
Trade Union representatives are broadly aware of this approach and supportive as it is designed to ensure all staff in NM and Housing Services are fairly considered for a reduced number of job opportunities.
In fact the union representatives are so aware of the approach that they felt the need to issue the following statement to the effected staff by E-mail
I have not seen the new proposals nor have I been briefed on the details. It is proposed that I will see the proposals on a Tuesday afternoon, the date is yet to be decided and the staff will see them on Wednesday.
So if everything is so open and transparent why is the union saying they have never seen the proposals?
Sources within the council have told Pits n Pots that since the redundancy process started they have heard nothing or seen very little in official documents.
The first round of consultations was for tiers down to 3 & 4. Whilst there was overall numbers in the documentation that came out on 1st November, the documentation for this showed the structure and which roles had been deleted within the HENS directorate, including those of staff who have still not been officially informed of their redundancy.
Whilst there was overall numbers in the documentation that came out on 1st November, there were no pooling or placements lists. When these did arrive they were full or errors and/or ommissions.
We were supposed to be having meetings last week but these were cancelled, we had been told that the meeting would be this week but there is a rumour going around that it will be next week at the earliest
Other sources have told Pits n Pots that they don’t believe the documents and staffing numbers were even finalised until well into the consultation period which is why the unions have been stating they didn’t deem the consultation period to have started until the lists were available.
Back in September Stoke-on-Trent City Council announced the shake up and reduction of directorates providing an implementation timetable
1 September – Proposals issued to affected staff and (Union/s) for consultation
15 September – Deadline job skills and competency templates to be received for Director and Assistant Director posts to be placed.
30 September – Formal consultation ends. Deadline for receiving jobs skills and competency templates back for Assistant Director posts
1 October – Subject to results of consultation, commence implementing proposals including placing staff formally at risk
31 December – Redundancies effective
4 January 2010 – New structure in place and operational
We are now at the end of January and the new structure is not in place nor is it operational. According to our sources it will be another 3 or 4 weeks at least before the issues causing the delay are resolved.
We are reliably informed that the delay is being caused by changes that were made to senior managers contracts during the time of the interim Chief Executive. These changes include clauses which allow for payments of around £20,000 per person for taking on extra responsibilities within the council. We are led to believe that these changes were not put in front of the elected members and have only come to light as part of the restructuring process.
You can view the discussion about this matter in the last full council meeting here.
I think there are some things we need to be absolutely clear about, last year I as a leader made a statement that I would not accept pay rises to senior managers on tier 1 and tier 2, which is the discussion that’s in this report given the economic circumstances that this council faces.
HR Committee have discussed this, jobs have been re-evaluated because previously there was no job evaluation, it was basically erm unevaluated jobs randomly applied and a wholly unfair system.
For the first time we have been able to evaluate all the jobs and despite that the HR committee did not accept any pay rises for any of those senior officers”¦..
There has been a lot said about looking at the past and all the negatives within the council and how it should stop and how the city should look forward to the future. Unfortunately until each and very closet is opened up and every skeleton is out in public view it is impossible for the city to look forward, each time we look forward and feel that we are moving on something else from the murky past of Stoke-on-Trent City Council appears and sweeps the legs from under us.