More job losses may follow as council cuts bite

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STAFF are bearing the brunt of cutbacks as Adur and Worthing councils seek to balance the books.

Restructures across numerous departments will save £757,000 in the next financial year – a sizeable chunk of the £1.16million of savings agreed as part of the councils’ annual budget.

Worthing councillors agreed the budget on Tuesday, with Adur rubber stamping the figures on Thursday (February 25).

“Our key ambition is to make our back office as efficient and effective as possible in order to protect the frontline services which the community values so highly,” a spokesman said.

The restructures include savings of more than £20,000 as part of the ongoing culture department review, which will see 18 jobs lost and 13 new posts created.

But further job losses could follow across the councils as they continues their digital transformation – an £800,000 project to improve customer service and efficiency. The spokesman said the work would save £200,000 per year, as new services across the council were rolled out.

He said: “We expect these to deliver reductions in software costs as well as create administrative efficiencies which may lead to job losses.

“As we introduce efficient digital methods to handle work, it is inevitable that the admin requirement will reduce.”

Elsewhere, the council has identified a range of cost-saving measures and increased service charges.

Grants to Adur Leisure will be reduced by £10,000 per annum, with negotiations to begin with Impulse over future funding from mid 2018.

Beach hut licence fees will rise 10 per cent, while increases in cremation and burial charges will provide an estimated £185,000 in revenue.

The spokesman said cremation charges – affecting Worthing Borough Council only – remained the lowest in West Sussex.

Savings in the waste department will see the cost of green bins rise £3 to £65. The council is exploring ‘other options’ to printed waste calenders, which it acknowledges as an important service to residents.

The councils’ cash office will also close, with residents redirected to PayPoint outlets.

Goring resident Matt Mitchell said: “I know there are other options but not everyone has a bank account or wants to do direct debits.

“Some people may not feel comfortable giving a corner shop £2,000 in cash to pay the bill. Last time the council tried this they had to re-open it.”