Birmingham children’s services staff cut by a third since 2010

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A FOI request by Running with Scissors showed that since 2010, when the cuts agenda began, the number of people working at children’s services (without schools) was slashed by a third. Three years ago the headcount was listed as 9610 employees but nowadays, in 2013, there are 3000 workers less.

This staff reduction is not based just on compulsory and voluntary redundancies. Most of the workers that left the local authority are counted as ‘resignations’, so this is the reason why the whole number of people dismissed is not the same as the number of jobs lost.

As it’s shown in the charts above, the workforce was reduced by 1000 people each year but the number of redundancies -both compulsory and voluntary- was much higher in 2012, affecting 485 employees.

If we have a look to the schools, the same FOI request showed that there are currently 27,087 staff working in educational establishments. As they only keep records from 2011, there is no data for the whole period of the cuts agenda, but since that year there were 366 redundancies and 1937 resignations.

A few days ago we published a post about children’s centres and we pointed out that schools lead some of them. The FOI request showed that since 2011 70 workers were dismissed or resigned from their jobs. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if all these employees were part of the staff of the children’s centres or of the school that lead them.

Children’s services workforce might be counted with or without schools. They have different management structures and the funding is also quite different, so it’s very common to see official documents where they exclude education from the directorate headcount.

The unions criticise the cuts

An officer from UNISON who participated in the negotiations with the Council claimed that they made a proposal to avoid big cuts in the directorates that work with the most vulnerable. The alternative was based in important budget reductions in the senior management.

If they cut senior management by over 30% as they cut the staff you would have a huge reduction in your staff bill, which means you have more money to punt frontline services

The union officer accused the local government of ‘nepotism’ and claimed that the underlying plan is to privatise children’s services by 2017.

Birmingham City Council is ran on nepotism. It’s who you know and no what you know. And they don’t sack each other

When we specifically asked John Cotton, cabinet member for social cohesion, about job cuts in children’s centres he insisted in the global strategy of the Council of ‘protecting the most vulnerable’.

We need to look how the budget situation develops (…) but we are very clear that the frontline provision is really important

 

Author: Duarte Romero Varela

Datajournalist

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