140 council jobs at risk as authorities merge services

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First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

WORKERS at Oxfordshire County Council could be told to relocate to Hampshire or lose their jobs.

It is part of a shake-up at the county council which would save about £700,000 a year.

If the plans go ahead, large parts of the county council’s finance and human resources departments will be transferred to a business centre run by Hampshire County Council in Winchester.

Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire’s deputy leader, said: “There are a number of clear advantages to linking up with Hampshire, not least that such a partnership would lead to more seamless transitions. We now know that this proposal stacks up financially and would deliver the savings we must make while continuing to provide quality back-office services for our frontline teams.

“Cabinet will be asked to approve the proposal on Tuesday, and I am sure it will be fully debated by my cabinet colleagues then.”

About 140 Oxfordshire staff work in teams that would be incorporated into the Hampshire Integrated Business Centre and would be offered the chance to transfer to Hampshire County Council employment.

If staff choose to transfer to Winchester, they will be eligible for financial support for the relocation. If they choose not to transfer, the council has said it will do its best to redeploy them but some redundancies may be made.

In autumn 2013, the county council’s cabinet gave its approval for large parts of HR and finance to be outsourced to a national provider as part of its attempt to save £64m by 2018 because of government cuts. Since then Hampshire County Council approached the council to explore a potential partnership linked in with its IBC business centre, launched in April 2014.

The IBC delivers back office services to schools and public sector organisations.

Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue are set to join it during 2014.

If Oxfordshire’s cabinet decides to go ahead a full staff consultation will take place in the autumn.

The county council would join the IBC in 2015.

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Comments (5)

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9:50am Wed 9 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Anyone who has found themselves out of work in Oxford will know that the Job Centre expect them to consider roles that require them to travel up to one hour.

It takes around 55 minutes to travel from Oxford to Winchester by car and 1h03m by train. It's a journey I do very regularly.
Anyone who has found themselves out of work in Oxford will know that the Job Centre expect them to consider roles that require them to travel up to one hour. It takes around 55 minutes to travel from Oxford to Winchester by car and 1h03m by train. It's a journey I do very regularly. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

10:37am Wed 9 Jul 14

CowleyBoy says...

If you are out of work and have to apply for a job that far away out of necessity, then that's one thing.

But for your current employer to suddenly expect you to incur huge travel costs and extra time out of your day to get to work, that's quite another.
If you are out of work and have to apply for a job that far away out of necessity, then that's one thing. But for your current employer to suddenly expect you to incur huge travel costs and extra time out of your day to get to work, that's quite another. CowleyBoy
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Gunslinger says...

This seems to have been an opportunistic move as the Hampshire centre were touting for work.

If the County Council are looking to combine services with other authorities, then it would be more logical to combine with Buckinghamshire, which is geographically closer and much more convenient for any staff affected - not to mention the public and others who need to deal with the transferred departments.

And Winchester is the most expensive place to live in the south east outside London, hardly an incentive to relocate.
This seems to have been an opportunistic move as the Hampshire centre were touting for work. If the County Council are looking to combine services with other authorities, then it would be more logical to combine with Buckinghamshire, which is geographically closer and much more convenient for any staff affected - not to mention the public and others who need to deal with the transferred departments. And Winchester is the most expensive place to live in the south east outside London, hardly an incentive to relocate. Gunslinger
  • Score: 2

1:18pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Man on the Green says...

OCC could achieve nearly half the projected savings of this major upheaval in one fell swoop if it followed several of the District Councils' example and shared a chief executive with a neighbouring authority. The current chief executive is widely seen - both inside the authority and by stakeholders - as hugely ineffective, and as a major stumbling block to progress on turning a failing authority around (on so many fronts). It is lamentable that Councillors have been unwilling to grasp this nettle, as the issues have been apparent ever since she took over, but many of them are little better!
OCC could achieve nearly half the projected savings of this major upheaval in one fell swoop if it followed several of the District Councils' example and shared a chief executive with a neighbouring authority. The current chief executive is widely seen - both inside the authority and by stakeholders - as hugely ineffective, and as a major stumbling block to progress on turning a failing authority around (on so many fronts). It is lamentable that Councillors have been unwilling to grasp this nettle, as the issues have been apparent ever since she took over, but many of them are little better! Man on the Green
  • Score: 4

1:47pm Wed 9 Jul 14

mytaxes says...

What a pity Oxford City Council do not follow this example and save money for the taxpayer. That said, I understand that it must be upsetting for the employees concerned, however, there are no jobs for life nowadays.
What a pity Oxford City Council do not follow this example and save money for the taxpayer. That said, I understand that it must be upsetting for the employees concerned, however, there are no jobs for life nowadays. mytaxes
  • Score: -1

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