Major restructuring work at Slough Borough Council underway to save millions

James Bagley. Local Democracy Reporter

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Deletion of job posts and slashing agency staff use will still go ahead at Slough Borough Council as major restructure work gets underway.

As part of the council’s ambition to be a 'world-class organisation', the authority is undertaking restructuring work to delete job posts and redeploy employees into outstanding vacant posts or roles held by temporary workers.

This involves switching to a new operating model known as a ‘one council’ staff team approach to meet the rising demand for Slough’s key services – such as adult social care – as government funding is slashed.

This new model will be creating support for residents to 'self-service' their needs by providing them information 'at the front door' – which will supposedly cut the admin part for staff like social care workers so they can focus on their primary tasks.

The council hopes this will be fully implemented by April and believes this will save them £5.2 million for just over a year period.

The 47-day phase two consultation – which looks into roles below the senior management team – was concluded on December 21.

At an employment and appeals committee on January 21 (Thursday), councillors heard officers could not yet share the responses of that second survey due to the 'sheer volume' amount of counter proposals received from the council’s workforce.

The associate director for customers, Surjit Nagra, told members they received approximately 130 counter proposals and are reviewing all of them and will give a detailed report at the next meeting in April.

Ms Nagra said those who are at risk of redundancy due to their job post being deleted will be given the opportunity to 'express interest' in up to five vacant roles within the council to hopefully secure them in a position during the restructuring process.

She said: “If they aren’t successful, we will still carry on looking for roles for them within the council and put them on the redeployment register.

“Josie [the chief executive] and the directors have always said this wasn’t a redundancy exercise by all means.

“This is about securing people in jobs because there’s a lot of skills out there and what we’re trying to do is to see if whether we can accommodate that skillset in another area.”

According to the temporary agency staff report, the council has spent over £3.5 million on agency staff – something the local authority has said they want to reduce and hire people in Slough for permanent positions.

Surjit Nagra said: “I don’t think this is about we’ll never ever have an agency staff worker at our doors again as there will always be that requirement.

“If sickness happens and you got to operate services which have got ratios that you got to keep, for example children centres, you have to a have ratio with children and a worker.

“You got to engage with an agency worker because that’s the only way you’re going to get another pair of hands into that team.

“What we need to do is minimise that number of agencies we use and not have them in the system for a very long time. We need to get smarter.”

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