Jobs in doubt as consultants move in

TOWN bosses are employing consultants to make efficiency savings in a move that places the future of a number of jobs in doubt.With pressures on budgets increasing, James Hehir, chief executive at Ipswich Borough Council, revealed experts are being employed to look at possible saving across customer services and housing services.

TOWN bosses are employing consultants to make efficiency savings in a move that places the future of a number of jobs in doubt.

With pressures on budgets increasing, James Hehir, chief executive at Ipswich Borough Council, revealed experts are being employed to look at possible saving across customer services and housing services.

He said the scope of the services have changed over the years - the council is currently responsible for 8,500 council houses compared to 12,000 previously - and it is important to continually adapt.

He conceded that any savings could mean job losses but added that staff turnover could mean non-vital positions not being re-advertised rather than making people redundant.

“We want to make sure people get proper services,” Mr Hehir said.

“It is going to be a very tough year for local government not just for Ipswich.

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“The government grant looks like it is going to be a two per cent increase while inflation is running at five pc.

“We have also got to meet the cost of concessionary bus fares.

“We are having to pick up more and more of the bill now and it is currently £3.5million.

“That pressure means we have to look at things.”

The consultants carrying out the review will be paid based on actual savings they make.

Last week The Evening Star revealed Ipswich council is take a more cautious approach to investments in a move that will leave a hole of up to £200,000 in the authority's budget.

In the wake of uncertainty over £5million invested in an Icelandic bank Mr Hehir said the authority will be more prudent for the foreseeable future.

This will involve placing council cash in less lucrative investments meaning less returns to put towards the authority's overall budget.

Mr Hehir estimated the resultant shortfall could be anywhere up to £200,000 a year.

Are you concerned about savings at the council? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk