Senior staff apply to go under council's multi-million-pound voluntary redundancy fund

Edinburgh City Council is set to pay off eighteen local authority mandarins - after nearly 50 senior managers applied for a multi-million-pound voluntary redundancy fund.

Edinburgh City Council Waverley Court HQ
Edinburgh City Council Waverley Court HQ

In October, the council agreed to release funding of up to £14.8m to begin a programme of voluntary early release arrangements for senior managers.

The local authority received applications from 47 staff who are looking to leave the service of the council, and offers were made to 21 employees.

Out of the 21 offers, 18 were accepted, which the council says will cut around £1.5m from the wage bill in 2021/22.

Depute Leader Cammy Day at the City Chambers

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Depute leader Cammy Day, and Labour councillor for Forth, said: “All organisations go through times of change as people move on, for whatever reason.

“Between them, the senior managers who have opted to take voluntary early release arrangements represent a broad cross-section of the work the council does to look after Edinburgh and its people and they can be very proud of what they’ve each achieved in service of this great city.

“We’ll work hard to ensure continuity of service across the board leading up to and after their departure and I want to thank them all for the time, effort and guidance they’ve contributed throughout their council careers.

“Their experience, expertise and support will be missed.”

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Elsewhere in Scotland, some local authorities have temporarily closed their redundancy schemes to protect the coffers amid budget restraints brought about by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a number of staff being told they may have to wait up to 12 months before their applications are accepted. Coronavirus has placed a massive strain on budgets, with reduced income and increased costs having a negative effect on reserves.

Conservative member of the finance committee, and councillor for Fountainbridge and Craiglockhart, Andrew Johnston, said: “The fact that the Scottish Government continues to impose year on year budget cuts on Edinburgh, may explain why 47 senior managers were prepared to leave the council in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“However ,questions have to be asked about the gap in skills and experience which will be left when the 21 senior staff who accepted offers have gone.

“This must not lead to a reduction in the delivery of core services or an increase in consultancy costs”.

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Rob Munn, convenver of the finance committee and SNP councillor for Leith Walk, said: “We’re facing considerable financial pressures as a council, pressures which are being exacerbated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“One of the things we’re doing to address these is to invite senior managers to apply for voluntary early release and, after a carefully considered process, we’ll see a number of them move on over the next few months.

“We’re working very closely with the chief executive, directors and their teams to ensure we’ve got smooth transition plans in place.

“I would like to thank each and every one of those leaving us for their many years of dedication, hard work and commitment and I wish them well for the future.”

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