Lambeth Council is to undergo a period of restructuring in order to protect front line services and meet the financial challenge of the next year, it has announced.
The council has this week begun a period of consultation with trade unions and staff on potential restructuring.
The plans could see the number of staff posts reduced by around 400, although the council said its absolute priority is to maintain and improve front line services. The reduction will be achieved by reducing the number of manager and director posts, support posts, and temporary and agency positions.
The reorganisation gives Lambeth the opportunity to become more efficient so that it can continue improving services while keeping council tax down.
Derrick Anderson, Chief Executive of Lambeth Council, explained:
“We are very clear that our absolute priority is to protect front line services.
“It has been clear for some time that councils across the country will face new challenges over the next few years, and funding will be tighter. Lambeth has made around £30 million of savings over the past few years by working smarter, which allowed us to freeze council tax while investing in better services, so we have a good track record of providing value for money for residents and we are prepared for the challenge.
“We are now beginning a process that will see sensible adjustments made to the number of posts, particularly where there are overlaps in responsibilities among managers and directors.”
The council is developing a clear plan that involves making sure the organisation is as efficient as it possibly can be. This will involve streamlining its structures and reducing the number of posts at most levels across the council. The council anticipated the challenge and filled some posts with agency workers and consultants so as to reduce the impact on the permanent workforce. By working smarter, the council plans to reduce costs while also maintaining and improving services for residents.
The council has issued a formal Section 188 notice, formally marking the start of the 90 day consultation period.
Lambeth intends to make £20 million of savings this financial year. As well as a staff restructure, the council plans to achieve this by making efficiency savings and working smarter, increasing the collection of debt owed to the council, and examining if it can join together with other councils to commission joint services.