Jobs under threat with call centre proposal

Up to 20 jobs could be lost at the borough if a new call centre to handle all calls for Grafton House is brought in over the next few months.

IPSWICH: Up to 20 jobs could be lost at the borough if a new call centre to handle all calls for Grafton House is brought in over the next few months.

The proposal was discussed in secret at an executive meeting last week and the ruling Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration decided to go ahead with the proposal.

Consultants Northgate Kendrick Ash, which has worked with the borough over the last few years, proposed that a new call centre should be set up at the council's headquarters.

It would handle all calls for the borough - and would mean borough officers would not have to deal with members of the public in their normal work.

That would mean between 35 and 40 jobs could be shed.

The call centre itself would employ up to 20 people who would be recruited from those displaced - but that could lead to between 15 and 20 people losing their jobs.

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Ipswich council leader Liz Harsant said: “This will be much better for the people of Ipswich - it will be easier to contact the council and it will be much more efficient. There will be savings.”

But she hoped any job losses could be swallowed by not replacing those who left and moving people to other departments. “We are very keen to keep redundancies to an absolute minimum and hope there will be no compulsory departures,” she said.

Opposition leader David Ellesmere said the council was pressing ahead with the scheme without checking up on what it would mean.

He said: “There are huge holes in the information we have been given on this. We don't know what the costs are, how much will be saved or how many jobs are under threat.”

The decision will now be considered by the borough's scrutiny committee which could decide to send it to the full council to debate later in the year.