146 Isle of Wight council staff ‘at risk’ after Government cuts

The council have entered a 30 day consultation with 146 members of staff after 82 posts were identified for potential redundancy.

County Hall:

This in from the council, in their own words. Ed


Following the setting of the council’s budget on 24 February, the Isle of Wight Council has now issued a formal HR1 notice, notifying the government and recognised unions of potential redundancies that may come forward as part of the budget savings identified.

82 posts have been identified for potential redundancy. 146 employees have, therefore, been identified as ‘at risk’.

30 day consultation
The council has now entered into a formal 30 day period of consultation with staff and recognised unions This will allow time for the proposals and impacts to be considered in more detail.

It will also provide staff the opportunity to offer suggestions or propose alternatives to generate the necessary savings; hopefully reducing the need for compulsory redundancies.

Where possible, staff will be offered alternative employment within the council, and applications for voluntary redundancy will be invited.

During the 30 day consultation period, affected services will continue as normal. Where service changes are being proposed, service users will also be consulted where necessary.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said:

“This is a decision which has been reached with much regret, and which has been a consequence of the extreme financial position which the council faces over the coming 12 months and into the future.

“The council is offering a lot of support to colleagues who may be affected, but regrettably, it seems some jobs will be lost, although we will work hard to minimise the extent and effect of this.”

The timing of any proposed service changes will vary and service users will be consulted about any potential changes in advance.

Image: Simon Haytack under CC BY 2.0

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

54 Comments

  1. Rod Manley


    3.Mar.2016 12:27pm

    The unions should organise a strike to save jobs.

  2. Barbara Penman


    3.Mar.2016 1:38pm

    Are any of the Councillors losing their jobs?

  3. mywifesheelsare2high


    3.Mar.2016 1:48pm

    Redundancies at Sandown Bay Academy low student numbers blamed.I expect A.E.T. wants more profit.The union reps are going to be busy.

  4. Maybe they want to cash in their acquisition (for free) of the unused Sandham Middle School judged as “surplus to requirement” by IWC education officers carefully turning a blind eye to the DfE’s report “National Pupil Projections – Future Trends in Pupil Numbers: July 2015

    The Beeb comments “The population bulge which has put primary schools under pressure will start hitting secondary schools this year, according to official figures.
    Last year councils had to provide 2,740,000 secondary school places, but this will rise to 3,287,000 by 2024, the figures predict. And analysis from the House of Commons library, for the Labour Party, shows one in six mainstream secondary schools are already at or overcapacity.”

    The capital value of the brownfield Sandham Middle School site for housing development is substantial giving the existing infrastructure. But then one can trust AET- can’t one?

  5. Rod Manley


    3.Mar.2016 2:13pm

    The unions have got to fight their own corner, it’s up to those outside to support them like Unite the Isle of Wight. Fighting redundancies usually happens when jobs are on the line. Terms and conditions have always been negotiated when redundancies are actually there.A strike at County Hall, if it was of any duration, would be devastating for services it was currently delivering. Unfortunately it will probably only be through strike action that workers can influence whether the cuts take place.If they don’t do it today it will be more difficult tomorrow.The mood is changing, the Junior Doctors have shown that.I bet Sandown Bay Academy staff are not too happy about the situation there either!

    • Luisa Hillard


      3.Mar.2016 8:24pm

      @Rod Manley These redundancies are not an attempt to increase profits and dividents for shareholders. These are due to the fact that there is not enough money to pay for them. The unions understand this and have been working closely with the council.

      How can the cuts not take place? Where does the missing £17 million come from to pay for these services?

      • Luisa Hillard, can you tell the people how the Council misled the public on the 2016 Budget Simulator removal of funding for school crossing patrols when the cut was from last year.

      • Rod Manley


        4.Mar.2016 9:19am

        Luisa, why don’t people like yourself get it into your head that labour is not a “cost”.

        The workers at the council are not inefficient, the fact is the services are being closed down because the grants are being taken away by the Government.

        The workers are the victims in all this political shenanigans.

        We know that there are good relations between workers and Councillors that is not the question you seem to want to harp on about.

        The workers have to defend themselves against these cuts.just because you have “understandings” with the unions doesn’t mean that they will agree to everything you do. They are there to represent the interests of their members first.

        Regardless of your “balancing the budget”, that is your problem and it lies at the heart of political cuts by the Government.

        We sympathise, but don’t expect people’s livelihoods to be given up that easily.

        If keeping jobs and services is a result and it produces another budget headache and difficulties in “legal” budgets, so be it!

        You are going to have the problem later or next year anyway when the Government comes at you again.

        • RM “Luisa, why don’t people like yourself get it into your head that labour is not a “cost”.

          Review Engels “Theory of Communism (1847)

          “Labor is a commodity, like any other, and its price is therefore determined by exactly the same laws that apply to other commodities. In a regime of big industry or of free competition – as we shall see, the two come to the same thing – the price of a commodity is, on the average, always equal to its cost of production. Hence, the price of labor is also equal to the cost of production of labor.”

          • Rod Manley


            4.Mar.2016 8:25pm

            Call it what you like Cic; labour is the inly thing that can produce wealth and add value over and above it’s cost.

            …and you’ll probably find that amongst one of your Engels quotes.

          • You probably meant to say Adam Smith, David Ricardo or the 1875 Gotha Programme. (later the SPD). :-))

            Marx rebutted the Gotha Program’s suggestion that “Labor is the source of wealth and all culture,”

            Marx argued. “Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much a source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which is itself only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power”

          • I didn’t know Engels was American. . .

          • …. or Marx for that matter- was he the fourth brother “Bolshie Marx”? :-))

            “Labour”

    • Maybe services will not be affected too badly, which will only prove a point.

      • > Dave Perhaps that comment has validity or not once the staffing establishment, after redundancies, is issued showing which departments have been cut.

        One problem may be keeping sufficient staff in place to meet statutory obligations where deadlines are set by law.

        • Having worked at the Council for some time, I can honestly say that some officers worked hard whereas some spent a good deal of their time phoning friends, having a smoking break, then a tea break and sorting out their nails. Sorry, but I speak from experience.

      • Rod Manley


        5.Mar.2016 5:37pm

        What Marx referred to in Capital was that nature supplies limited value.

        When you say “as much” that is deceptive as Labour became the greatest source of “Surplus Value” or profit.In the real world of today what matters is what adds value to the commodity, the workers claim on the social product as wages and the monopoly capitalists claim on the product as profit.

        What are we trying to prove anyway, that one of us has read some books by Marx, or what serves the workers at the Council?

        Employers are always talking about Labour as a “cost”, to justify redundancy.

        We should be interested in saving jobs and services and not Government inspired Austerity cuts.

        What is the justification for the cuts by the Academies such as at Sandown?

        Balancing the books while there is a shortage of teachers?

        • Rm “What is the justification for the cuts by the Academies such as at Sandown?”

          Capitalism encouraged by the Tory government that wants to channel more taxpayer’s money nto private pockets.

          Just check how many support staff have been dumped by Island academies, with their necessary work allegedly being farmed out to private companies linked to academic trusts. In this way, IWC pay support costs that then trickle down to those companies providing those outsourced services.

          See the Telegraph articles 13 Jan 2014 and 6 March 2016 “Academies paying millions to businesses linked to their directors.” and “The Commons public accounts committee finds evidence of a ‘conflict of interest’ at a number of the Government’s academy schools, with one chain allegedly paying £500,000 to companies linked to its trustees” and “In an evidence session, the cross-party committee quoted the case of one chain of academy schools – the Academies Enterprise Trust – that allegedly paid tens of thousands of pounds to private businesses owned by trustees and executives.
          Sums were paid over three years but not since 2012/13.”

          • Vix Lowthion


            6.Mar.2016 10:55am

            And the reduction in number of pupils on the roll due to the new schools which have been established on the island, even though we already had surplus places.

  6. I feel very bad for the staff under consultation, it is a worrying and sad time for them and their families. We should not blame the IWC for this or Councillors but blame should be put at the doors of Westminster. (Both Conservative and Labour).
    Can On the Wight ask Mr Turner for a comment on the situation and what he is doing to support the IWC and staff. What has he actually done in Parliament.
    Perhaps before people jump up and down and shout about strikes they should first think about how to support those who find themselves in this consultation and expend their hot air and energy supporting them.

    • billy builder


      3.Mar.2016 3:41pm

      Strike action would be very unlikely to improve the situation for either the employees under threat or the wider council workforce, as any strike action would certainly cost the IOW Council more money and would put more jobs and services at risk. At this juncture there are effectively two course of action, either to propose a method by which the council could make the savings necessary to save these jobs, or by undertaking some island wide mass protest that forces the government to respond.

      The only way I can think of achieving the first would be to propose an across the council pay cut of say 10%. This might not be very popular with those whose jobs are not under threat.

      Perhaps the best way of achieving the second would be a ‘passport to Pimlico’ type action involving the blockading of all ferry terminals on the island, preventing the passage of people and goods. Although this would almost certainly be illegal.

    • Luisa Hillard


      3.Mar.2016 8:29pm

      @Zzzzzz I agree with you that it will be a very sad time and something that staff have been going through on a yearly basis for about five years. The council is a family, literally, with many husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings. There will be a lot of Island families suffering from sleepless nights and worry about how they will get through this.

  7. I phoned the council to report the street lights not working, Nobody to do the job mate, phone next month and nobody will answer the phone was the reply.

  8. Stewart Blackmore


    3.Mar.2016 4:05pm

    This is something else that can be laid squarely at the door of our ineffectual MP, Andrew Turner and his Austerity-mad Tory government.

    While Tory slush money is being thrown at many other Tory held constituencies the South, the Island gets nothing. Why? Because Andrew Turner is ignored in government EVEN if he was shouting for the Island’s cause (which, of course, he isn’t).

    These are real people with real families to support, yet he remains completely silent. Heaven help us.

    • Stewart- maybe you should review Hilary Benn’s letter to local authority leaders (Aug 2014). He writes:

      “Labour is committed to balance the books in the next parliament so budgets will be extremely tight. We will need to make big reforms without big spending. And as we will inherit, and stick to, the Government’s spending plans for 2015/16, we will not have any more money to give to local government. ”

      So don’t hold your breath waiting for more money from a Labour government.

      • Geoff Lumley


        3.Mar.2016 4:40pm

        A letter that pre-dates the change of leadership in the Labour party.

        • billy builder


          3.Mar.2016 5:17pm

          There are two opposing sayings ‘you have to speculate to accumulate’ and ‘save the pennies and the pounds save themselves’. Neither of these are wholly true and neither wholly false. You need sensible balance.

        • So are you saying that Labour policy has changed regarding expenditure on local government?

          However I note that Corbyn, while referring to the Hilary Benn research, missed two opportunities to promise extra money for local government from a future Labour government.

          Firstly in his letter to local government authorities “A new settlement for local government” – in September 2015 -(with the logo “Straight Talking, Honest Politics”)

          Secondly, in his closing speech to the LGA & ALC Conference, Nottingham-9 February 2016.

          If the policy has changed, please explain more, as it could win Stewart more votes next time.

        • GL,now you know why people voted for or backed anti-austerity candidates/parties.

      • Stewart Blackmore


        3.Mar.2016 7:32pm

        Cicero, I had the pleasure to meet Hilary Benn before the election and, while it is true that he made that commitment, he also gave assurances to Conference that a Labour government would ensure REAL devolution to local authorities which would have meant a true redistribution of business rates.

        What this government is giving us has nothing to do with devolution and everything to do with moving the blame for the cuts to local authorities.

        • IMO Hilary Benn is one of the future leaders of the Labour party I respected his father’s honesty. Maybe at some time not too distant we might see PMQ with Benn on one side and Ress-Mogg on the other?

        • The Sciolist


          3.Mar.2016 9:06pm

          So local island businesses will just cough up enough cash to bail out local authorities? In our case, £27 million next year?

          Yeah, sure they can afford this. Some people live in their own little fairlyland dream world. Labour will not be a credible alternative to the Conservative’s as long as such nonsensical thinking prevails.

      • Even if there was no more money from government, at least the arbitrary cap on council tax could be removed.

        • Great idea – that would obviously improve things – allowing the local council to tax a low income area with no restrictions when the reason it has a budgetary shortfall is because it’s a low income area.

  9. Ofsted’s letter to the CEO of AET (28 Jan 2016) makes interesting reading.***

    Given its good leadership over the last 18 months Sandown Bay Academy has improved its educational standards substantially. It would be a shame if it deteriorated again as a result of AET’s priorities.

    ***www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/497640/AET_outcome_letter_November_2015_inspection.pdf

  10. Albert Street


    3.Mar.2016 5:45pm

    If there are to be redundancies I sincerely hope that it is applied across every tier starting at the top working down.

    I assume that consultations would look at all alternatives like a pay cuts across all salaried personnel and consideration given to a pension break. Added to this consider the hidden social and other costs of redundancies.

    The supply of services continues to rise and is apparently going on unabated. When the squeeze is on everyone in the chain must feel the squeeze. What has happened to Dynamic Purchasing?

  11. Morris Barton O.B.E.


    3.Mar.2016 7:11pm

    The cuts in council services and the redundancies on the Isle of Wight are clearly as a result of The ideological policies of the free market Conservative Government and also sadly the adoption of the austerity programme by the Coalition and the Shadow Cabinet

    The Lansley reorganisation of the NHS wasted billions, the failure of successive governments to reign in the bankers and city gamblers and their inflated salaries means that those sick, and disabled and our future generations will suffer for years to come whilst the minority who don’t rely on state health or education provisions continue to carve up public services

    • the shadow


      4.Mar.2016 10:43pm

      when you were a councilor many moons ago i was on the cat coming into ryde you where with a few others and was talking about the European office and how much it cost for very little out off it expect that bags off duty free ! travel paid for so samrt fox barton o.b.e by the people off the isle of wight DONT FORGET THE LARGE HIKE IN COUNCIL TAX UNDER THEM rant over

  12. Geoff Lumley


    3.Mar.2016 7:50pm

    Morris. The Coalition – of which your LibDems were a guilty accomplice. And the Shadow Cabinet to which you refer was the one before September 2015, after which Labour commenced the rising of the ‘socialist phoenix’ you hoped would arise in the years after your departure from Labour. Remember, I have the letter :)

  13. Morris Barton


    3.Mar.2016 10:21pm

    Geoff I respect your view as a Corbyn man and an activist politician but any attempt to identify or remind me of political comments I might have made 40 years ago mystify me

    I have always promoted and defended the public sector

    Nowadays I have a quiet life observing from the sidelines the games people play

    Enjoying my retirement but always concerned about the Island I love

  14. And this is why the public are generally fed up with ‘politicians’. Not one helpful suggestion of how we get out of this mess…just finger pointing and blaming their political opponents for the mess. Now if all the ‘politicians’ got together and worked on a united front to support the people of the Island to say to the government that we are being treated unfairly…..then that would be something we could tell our children and grand children about….and pigs might fly!

  15. Beachers

    I have to agree, to much time wasted on personnel insults rather than just getting on with it, in many jobs of the real world they would probably be the ones being made redundant..or sacked!!

  16. Rod Manley


    4.Mar.2016 8:36pm

    Stewart, I wouldn’t say Turner was ineffectual he is an austerity man who has just managed to snatch the anti-austerity movement run by UTIOW from under their noses. Very astute I would say!

    By the way, Tony Benn’s son is not a Corbynite, he is a good old fashioned Ramsey MacDonald warmonger.His “own man” so to speak.

  17. Hazel Wyld


    5.Mar.2016 4:43pm

    according to the local paper all staff at Westminster House being made redundant, so if as they say no plans to close are the residents going to self cater…they must think we are all idiots! Guess who ever in power at council level will always see the most vulnerablr as easy targets, they are unlikely to vote….why or why are the cuts being made at the bottom and not a lot highter up….

  18. Rod Manley


    5.Mar.2016 6:17pm

    Council workers didn’t defend their jobs last time and maybe they won;t this time.

    The numbers are going to go down…and down…and down.

    They will come again and again.

    If you cut pay to “protect jobs” Metcalfe will say, thanks very much and then he will come again and cut you. He won’t mind his huge salary will be protected.The only job he does today is cut.

    If you make the cuts elsewhere, if that is possible, they will come again.

    If you cut the budget deficit, Osborne and the Tories will say, “there, see, you can do it so here’s some more Austerity medicine”.

    You can go on expecting someone else to fight your corner but in the end its not the Public, or the union, it is down to you.

    Take it….or leave it….your choice!

  19. Osborne bleats “Wasn’t my fault Miss, it was the others made me do it!”

    (Beeb) Chancellor George Osborne has warned the country has to “act now rather than pay later” ahead of this week’s Budget.

    Writing in the Sun on Sunday, Mr Osborne says he will have to make new cuts to public spending “so the country lives within its means”.

    The world was “facing its most uncertain period since the Great Recession”, he wrote.
    He said his 16 March Budget “will set out the clear direction

    Writing in the newspaper on Sunday, Mr Osborne warned that “the hopes of a stronger global recovery have evaporated”.

    He cites the slow-down in China, the fall in oil prices, interest rate changes elsewhere in the world and political instability in the Middle East as among the reasons for the world economy slowing.

    “It’s been the worst start to a year on stock markets for almost half a century,” he wrote. ”

    William Hill is giving 5/4 odds that Osborne will be gone in 2020 (the 18th baronet of Nowherestown in Ireland will then probably loll on benches in the House of Lords, remembering to claim his £300/day expenses before lunching with his friends and sponsors n the City.)

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