Compulosory job losses fear at Sheffield Homes

Consultation: Richard Webb.
Consultation: Richard Webb.
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SHEFFIELD Council has pledged that it aims to protect ‘frontline’ staff but said it cannot rule out compulsory redundancies when it takes over management of the city’s estates.

A decision has been made by a working board made up of officials, the vice chairman of Sheffield Homes’ tenant board Michael Shepherd and councillors, to wind up Sheffield Homes one year earlier than planned, in April 2013.

The 42,000 houses managed by the award-winning company are returning to council control after a ballot of tenants earlier this year.

The council says taking housing back under its control will reduce ‘duplication’ among staff and cut costs, freeing-up money for other purposes.

It claims up to £1.2 million could be saved although there is no official plan of which budgets will be cut.

And there will be extra costs from redundancies before savings kick in.

Richard Webb, executive director for communities at Sheffield Council, said: “I cannot rule out compulsory job losses although we are trying to avoid them.

“We aim to protect frontline services, however.”

Mr Webb was unable to say how many of Sheffield Homes’ 1,000 jobs will be axed.

He added: “Where there are redundancies there will always be a cost. That has been factored in.”

Consultation officially begins on Monday into how the new council-managed operation will work.

Mr Webb said: “We are going out to meet tenants to ask what they want from housing services. We will be at community events, libraries and health centres.”

Tenants are being send a postcard in their latest In Touch magazine. People can email planningthefuture@sheffield.gov.uk or call 0114 2053908 for information.