No plans to introduce compulsory redundancy in West Lothian

Tuesday May 21st 2024


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

West Lothian Council has no plans to introduce compulsory redundancies during the lifetime of the current administration.

Despite an ever tightening squeeze on budgets and stripping back of services the council has so far been able to avoid compulsory redundancies by using a policy of voluntary redundancy and redeployment.

The council leader told a meeting that compulsory redundancies would only be considered if the scale of job cuts demanded could not be accommodated by existing policies.

At this month’s meeting of full council Independent councillor Stuart Borrowman asked: “Will the present political administration sustain its policy of no compulsory redundancies until May 2027?”

Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick answered: “Despite the budget position over a number of years and the requirement for the council to make necessary savings, the council has been able to maintain a position of no compulsory redundancies due in part to the provisions of the Workforce Management Policy and Procedure and it is our intention to continue this arrangement.”

Councillor Fitzpatrick outlined both early retirement and redeployment procedures.

“Decisions to grant are informed by demonstrable benefit to the council, both in terms of total cost and service implications; quality and relevance of the business case made; and the interests of the employees concerned, balanced with the interests of the council.

“The redeployment procedure provides a means of identifying, wherever possible, suitable alternative employment for employees who have been displaced from their jobs as a result of the organisational change process. A search for suitable alternative employment will be undertaken for a period of up to nine months from the implementation date of a new structure.”

He added: “The council has been successful in managing the implications of organisation through ERVS and redeployment.”

The council leader explained that compulsory redundancy would only be introduced in circumstances where the council is required to reduce the workforce of such a scale that redeployment and other voluntary measures are insufficient to achieve the reductions.

The Council Executive approved a draft redundancy procedure to deal with this type of scenario.

In a written answer Councillor Fitzparick added: “This draft Redundancy Procedure has been retained as a contingency measure in the event that the council is faced with budgetary pressures of such severity that compulsory redundancy cannot be avoided. Any decision to invoke its implementation would require separate approval from the Council Executive.”

Responding to the answers, Councillor Borrowman said: “I’d just like to say it is a well written and suitably cautious response from Councillor Fitzpatrick. I’m grateful for that.”

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