A staff restructure is underway at West Lindsey District Council, but chief executive Manjeet Gill says “there are no current plans for any wholesale job losses.”
Mrs Gill’s comments follows discussion by councillors of WLDC’s Medium Term Financial Plan, which said the council must save £3 million over three years to help balance its books.
A council progress report warned “The impact on staffing levels may result from proposals within business plans, therefore it will be appropriate to engage with staff and the trade unions as more detailed change proposals within services emerge.”
However, Mrs Gill told the Rasen Mail that the council aims to stave off dwindling cuts in government grants by becoming “self-sufficient by 2020 by building on the success of its entrepreneurial model.”
Since 2010, capital grants from regional government, Housing and Communities Agency have almost disappeared.
“Dwindling revenue grants have a major impact on the council, its services and future objectives of the council. We have not had severe cuts to services or large cuts in staffing unlike other local authorities. But year by year it is progressively getting more and more difficult to find efficiencies. Whilst there is a focus on other income sources, this will not be an easy task over the coming years.”
Despite the bleak outlook, Ms Gill felt confident the council would find a way around the challenge.
“We have not cut services and our councillors did not increase council tax in this financial year, instead they invested another £2 million into major projects. There are also no current plans for any wholesale job losses,”
But the CEO said a “restructure of the senior leadership team is currently underway to ensure the right skills are in place to deal with the challenges going forward.”
“If we are to become less dependent on grants we need to explore opportunities for collaboration and alternative forms of service delivery as well as pursuing commercial to generate additional income,” she said.
At the recent Challenge and Improvement Committee meeting, finance officer Russ Stone warned “tinkering around the edges was not sustainable” and WLDC faced “difficult years.”
”This frightens the life out of me,” said Coun Chris Darcel.
“We are living in challenging times, the future looks very challenging indeed,” committee chairman Coun Paul Howitt-Cowan added.