Nearly 900 jobs at Oxfordshire CC could be lost within three years as it seeks to save £33m.
The county council is proposing a “complete overhaul” of the way it operates but said its transformation intends to protect frontline services and instead focus increasing the use of new technologies, cutting red tape and reducing back office administration.
Oxfordshire, which has a net revenue budget of about £422m in 2018-19, needs to find £33m savings as part of its four year budget plan.
It is estimated it will cost the county council £18m to implement its new operating model. But analysis by PwC has also estimated the changed way of working could save the council between £34m and £53m a year over five years.
It is likely to result in between 600 and 890 full-time equivalent jobs being lost over a two- to three-year period. The council said its annual turnover of staff is about 650 “so the number of compulsory redundancies is likely to be much fewer”.
Oxfordshire leader Ian Hudspeth (Con) said: “We are committed to reducing the number of redundancies by retraining staff wherever possible to fill the new jobs that would be created as a result of the proposed new council operation.”
According to a report by outgoing chief executive Peter Clark, it does not appear as though Oxfordshire is proposing to radically change the way services are delivered. Instead it is seeking to “reset” the way the council works. Indeed, Mr Clark’s report said “the operating model in itself does not determine what the council will do but how it will work”.
He said the new operating model “will not supersede or direct any political, commercial or service decision making – although it will inform and shape the considerations made. For example, the operating model takes no position on whether services should be delivered ‘in-house’ or ‘out-sourced’.”
Mr Clark’s report said: “Deliberately designing a new model of operations will allow the council to consider all of the way things are done and consider how they best fit together in the interests of efficiency and effectiveness.
“Within the context of tight financial management and sustained difficult decision making, this represents a one-off opportunity to reset the organisation’s basic framework for a generation.”
The new operating model will be considered by county councillors during September, with a decision taken by cabinet on 18 September.
More than £300m of savings have already been made by Oxfordshire since 2010. The council said “most” of this is being used to meet growing demand for social care for vulnerable children and adults.
The county council shares HR and finance services with Hampshire CC.