Recruitment freeze at council

SUFFOLK County Council's new Conservative administration has made its first big impact since winning power at Endeavour House.The new administration, which seized power with a 15-seat majority at last Thursday's election, has introduced a recruitment freeze for non-frontline staff.

SUFFOLK County Council's new Conservative administration has made its first big impact since winning power at Endeavour House.

The new administration, which seized power with a 15-seat majority at last Thursday's election, has introduced a recruitment freeze for non-frontline staff.

This means that if anyone leaves the council, a full audit will have to be undertaken to decide if it is necessary to recruit a replacement.

However the freeze does not affect front-line services including teachers and social workers.

New county council leader Jeremy Pembroke said the freeze was the first stage in trying to cut bureaucracy at the county council.

He said: "We always said our first priority when we took over the county council would be to bring costs under control.

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"We don't want to hit services to the public and we want to introduce new initiatives like the children's university and improving the maintenance of the county's roads.

"But from now on there will be hard look at every job that becomes vacant to see if it is needed - except for those in front-line services."

Mr Pembroke said there were no service cuts on the agenda and denied that his group had already considered closing libraries on Sundays.

"That's not in our thinking at all - we are not looking at reducing the services we provide for the people of Suffolk in any way at all," he said.

The exact shape of the new administration will not become clear until May 26 when the county council is due to hold its annual meeting.

The Conservatives had a group meeting on Monday to discuss their strategy, but at present the only confirmed appointment is Mr Pembroke as leader.

He now has to choose a deputy leader and members of his executive committee.

The previous deputy leader, Peter Aldous, unsuccessfully fought the Waveney parliamentary seat and did not seek re-election to the county council.

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