Council spends £50,000 making staff redundant ... then re-hires them
WORKERS who were made redundant by Derby City Council at a cost of £50,000 have been re-hired by the authority.
Staff lost their jobs as part of drastic cuts to the authority's budget but some workers were then re-employed within the same departments they had left.
The revelation has been branded a "huge waste of money" by the TaxPayers' Alliance but the council has defended itself – saying a former employee may be the "best person" to fill a genuine vacancy which arises.
A wave of staff left the council on December 31 last year due to budget cuts and the authority is currently trying to find a further 350 employees who are prepared to take voluntary redundancy.
But figures show some of those that left later returned – with six employees being re-hired.
One of those staff members was re-employed on two separate contracts and, in three cases, staff were re-employed in similar roles. The council would not reveal whether the workers returned to the same pay.
The cost of paying redundancy packages of those six workers totalled £50,000.
Council rules state that if a staff member is made redundant they can apply for jobs with the authority after four weeks.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "It's a huge waste of taxpayers' money to rehire staff you've just spent a fortune making redundant.
"Poor planning at the top of the council is costing residents dearly.
"With necessary spending cuts to be made, taxpayers can't afford for council chiefs to squander money like this."
A report on the matter acknowledges the move to re-hire the staff may be unpopular with the public.
It said: "Whilst it does not look very palatable that people are re-employed by the council after taking a voluntary redundancy package there are circumstances where this is legitimate and potentially beneficial to the organisation.
"For example, it is not always possible to effect redeployment where the time between a redundancy and new vacancy arising is months apart."
The report said two home care assistant posts were made redundant towards the end of 2011, but then vacancies for a day care assistant and home care assistant were created in May and September and staff previously made redundant took these roles.
In another case, an employee in the children and young people's directorate whose title had been Japanese Support was then re-hired as an English language teacher for foreign students.
In the neighbourhoods department, a creche supervisor was re-hired as a cleaner, as was a pre-school gymnastics assistant coach. Another coach became a well-being co-ordinator.
A day service worker in the adults, health and housing directorate became a senior care team leader in the same department.
Councillor Sarah Russell, cabinet member for finance and democracy, said: "The council offered a voluntary package to mitigate the need for compulsory redundancies.
"If at some point in the future a genuine vacancy arises, the best person, as identified through a recruitment exercise; should be appointed, so long as a period of four weeks has passed since they left on the grounds of redundancy."