Shropshire Council has a huge range of responsibilities and services. Many, such as education, planning and social care are statutory. Others are discretionary. Pest control has already been abolished at Shropshire Council. If you want to control rats you will have to hire a private company for the task. Some other duties are not well defined. There is a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service but that hasn’t stopped councils reducing the number of libraries and scrapping mobile library services.

As part of its push to save £62 million in 2023/24, Shropshire Council is to axe around 300 posts by next April, around 10% of the workforce (excluding schools which employ their own staff).

For the last year, council leaders have been reluctant to use the “R-word” – redundancy. It was saying it will concentrate on natural wastage, leaving posts vacant when people leave. As late as January, one director was telling their staff there would be no redundancies, voluntary or compulsory.

The writing is now on the wall and the council has set a target of shedding 300 out of c. 2,900 posts by March 2025.

This is a worrying time for many staff. The council is not offering enhanced redundancy terms and some will find it difficult to find new employment. At this stage they can apply for redundancy, which could be refused if they are in essential jobs. If there is not sufficient take up by mid-April, the process will move on to compulsory redundancies. It will take several months to work through this process.

Shropshire Council will also cut back on agency workers, which are more expensive than employed staff and some have barely settled in before they move on. Use of agency staff was one of the factors cited in a highly critical OSTED report on the councils children’s services in January.

We don’t know what Shropshire Council will look like at the end of the coming financial year. All we know is it will look very different.

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