Aberdeen council workers could be trained for different roles as the local authority looks to build a “leaner” workforce in the face of increasing cuts.
A report, to yesterday’s staff governance committee, stated that staff would have to be “more flexible” in their jobs in future and the ongoing voluntary redundancy and early retirement programme would direct staff into new roles.
While some areas of council work are predicted to require fewer employees, an aging population will lead to more demand in others like care.
At this year’s budget meeting more than £41 million of cuts and savings were approved.
Staffing makes up a huge proportion of the council’s annual spending, and there have been efforts to reduce the more than 8,000 strong headcount.
The ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and independent administration have blamed decreasing Scottish Government grants as the reason behind the cuts.
Following local government elections in 2017 the coalition announced a new shake-up, known as the target operating model (TOM), which aims to save £125m over five years through the likes of making more services digital.
The report states: “As funding continues to reduce, the workforce will become leaner. This requires a more fluid and flexible workforce with a move away from specialist skills and silo-working and towards developing more generic skillsets supporting agility.
“It also requires a greater focus on employee development and internal recruitment, ensuring roles themselves give flexibility across a range of tasks and that internal talent is used flexibly for development, sustainability and retention, rather than relying on external recruitment or agency services.
“Roles which are essential for the delivery of statutory services such as education and care will continue to be an area of focus for recruiting or retraining current staff.”
Unison union official Kenny Luke said: “What is reported to us on a daily and sometimes hourly basis is that workers are going through the wall with stress.
“Unison’s position, along with other unions, is that we will do what we can to work wherever possible to protect the interests of our members.”
Unite representative John Boland said: “We have grave concerns regarding Aberdeen City Council’s workforce plan.
“Leaner means fewer jobs, and flexibility just means moving pressure from one area to another, and putting more stress on the workforce.”