Hampshire set to slash children’s services workforce

A total of 376 posts in children’s services are set to be axed at Hampshire County Council as the authority prepares to make savings of £55m this year.

The jobs, which represent 11 per cent of the children’s services workforce of 3,492, are part of a 7.1 per cent reduction in the council’s overall workforce for 2011/12. Council chiefs have said a similar reduction will have to be made in 2012/13.

Ken Thornber, Conservative leader of Hampshire County Council said the cuts have to be made.

“Included within this programme are plans to reduce our pay bill, which makes up 51 per cent of our overall budget,” he said.

“We have tried to do this in a way that minimises job losses and we hope, where possible, to achieve this through voluntary measures, but sadly there will be some staff who will face compulsory redundancy and we will do what we can to help them in terms of finding future employment and financial planning.”

Thornber said that some aspects of children’s services will be protected from the cuts.

Child protection and safeguarding services are to be shielded from budget cuts to ensure “safe social care services continue to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families in need of support”.

“What’s been uppermost in our minds is the enormous responsibilities we have to vulnerable children and adults in our care and our desire to protect those most in need as far as possible,” Thornber said.