Axed jobs announced

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THE Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that 12 out of 24 jobs at its headquarters will be axed to help reduce the £2.5 million reduction that the department has been asked to find.

As government tightens the purse strings, the department has been asked to reduce its spending from £34.1 million to £31.6 million.

The reductions will be across all grades of officer from senior and middle manager posts being axed as well as five lower administrative and secretarial grades.

Treasury Minister Anne Craine MHK said at the Budget that following a drive to cut costs that almost 400 positions would have gone from the government work force by next year.

Despite plans to achieve significant cost savings by reducing areas of discretionary spending such as travel, training, equipment and overtime the department has been forced to cut jobs to find the additional savings.

By axing some of the posts at its Homefield headquarters on Woodbourne Road in Douglas, it will save almost £500,000.

The department plans on taking the number of staff from 24 (22.3 full-time equivalent) to 12 (10.6 FTE), as the Courier reported last month.

DHA director of finance Paula Primrose said: ‘Significant progress has been made in finding alternative posts for the staff affected and consultations are ongoing to determine opportunities for their redeployment if required, although two people have indicated they wish to opt for early retirement.

‘Two officers have already transferred to another department and two others will transfer to the Treasury shared service centre in the summer. Two officers have other roles lined up to start soon and I am optimistic that suitable jobs will be found within the public service for most of the remaining officers affected.’

The changes will be required from April, three of the posts will transfer to the Treasury for government’s shared services centres in finance and procurement.

Meanwhile, financial support for the chief minister’s drug and alcohol strategy has been reduced on the basis the strategy is now mature and to a large degree self-propelling, which will make a saving of three posts.

Changes will see the management of the strategy transfer to another senior officer within the CEO’s administration, who will continue to work with partners across government and the third sector to ensure its delivery.

Two senior directors, who manage business change and researching social policy, have been combined into one post.

Additionally, the department’s press and public relations officer post has been removed while further staff savings have been achieved by merging the responsibilities of two finance middle management posts into one.

After the postholders resigned, the department did not recruit an in-house staff welfare officer and instead is in discussion about the greater use of central government’s welfare services.

Responsibilities across administration and finance staff are being merged with some increased administration burden on the operational divisions.

Home Affairs Minister Adrian Earnshaw MHK said: ‘Hard financial circumstances mean that tough decisions have to be taken.

‘Making these staff cuts should not be seen as a reflection on the individuals concerned but as the result of the straitened times we find ourselves in.’

The emergency planning unit and civil defence are proposed to be put under the management of another section of the department, which had made one post surplus to requirements.

Ongoing work will continue to establish exactly how the relationship will operate, ensuring a close link is retained to the chief secretary’s office and other government departments.

Mr Earnshaw MHK, said: ‘Halving the amount of staff based at our headquarters will inevitably have an impact. However, I am working with my senior officers to ensure the department continues to support the work of the operational divisions.

‘All officers are committed to working together to minimise any impact on the public. The result will be a streamlining of the department’s administration but there will be no compromise on delivering our primary focus that is achieving the high level of public safety we have come to expect. My priority throughout has been protecting frontline services to ensure the ongoing safety of the public of the Isle of Man, which is our prime aim.’

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