Council laid-off 62 workers last year at cost of £1 million

city council

The city council says no workers were made redundant in 2020/21 as a result of the pandemic, while those in 2019/20 pre-dated the pandemic

Sixty-two Stoke-on-Trent city council workers were laid-off last year at a cost of more than £1 million.

The city council made six compulsory redundancies in 2020/21, with another 56 ‘other departures’ being agreed.

They received ‘golden parachute’ compensation payments totalling £639,000, with a further £386,000 being paid to the pension fund.

One single redundancy cost a total of £152,000 including £25,000 in compensation and £127,000 in pension payments. The second biggest exit package in the year was £96,000.

But 46 of the 62 redundancies cost the council less than £20,000 each.

The overall figures are much lower than those for the previous year, when the council agreed 287 exit packages, costing £12.1 million in compensation and pension payments.

The city council says no workers were made redundant in 2020/21 as a result of the Covid-19, while those in 2019/20 pre-dated the pandemic.

Council leader Abi Brown said the authority would adapt its workforce in line with service needs and the commitment to deliver value for money.

She said: Our staff have worked tremendously hard to continue to deliver services that residents, businesses and communities have relied on despite the massive challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic over the past 18 months.

We can confirm that no departures occurred as a result of the pandemic, and as a public authority, we did not furlough staff either – instead staff from services that temporarily closed or were affected by the lockdown restrictions went on to support other frontline and support services that we set up specifically to help vulnerable people in the city at this most difficult of times, Brown said.

The redundancy figures for 2019-20 pre-dated the pandemic and followed both a mid-year budget and annual budget, where we focused specifically on investing in services to support vulnerable children and young people, and in transforming the parts of the organisation that were delivering services in similar, old-fashioned ways, so that instead we can be fit for the future, she said.

We have a workforce of more than 5,000 people, and many more when maintained schools are included. It is not unusual to have a small number of staffing changes as documented in the report. As an authority we have saved around £20m in the past two years while continuing to work effectively to provide the services that are important to residents and the future growth of our city, she said.

Brown said: We will continue to keep the size and shape of our workforce under review in line with service needs and our commitment to deliver value for money for residents.

The city council’s budget cuts for 2020/21 included the net loss of 60 full-time workers and the deletion of 22 vacant full-time posts.

But many of the savings proposals agreed at budget council in February 2020 were not delivered within the year, mainly as a result of the pandemic.

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