Over 1000 jobs lost in six years at Harrogate Borough Council

Harrogate Borough Council leader Richard Cooper
Harrogate Borough Council leader Richard Cooper

More than 1000 jobs have been lost at Harrogate Borough Council over the past six years as a result of ‘diminishing budgets’ from Government.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request revealed that, since 2010, 1098 jobs have been lost at the council with only 658 new additions in that time.

This means that the council is operating with 440 fewer staff, with 75 of those leaving their jobs doing so through forced or voluntary redundancy.

Leader of the council, Coun Richard Cooper, explained that they have been forced to adapt to new ways of working as their budgets from Government have shrunk in recent years.

He said: “This is what you would expect in a time of austerity. Some of the new ways of working are partnerships with local organisations in the community and other areas.

“These partnerships enable us to sustain our services with fewer staff required. There are also changes to our working that drive efficiency.

“Ten years ago everyone submitted responses by filling in reams of form, now the vast majority do this online so there are savings to be had as a result of this.

“We are always trying to drive innovation within the council. We have a group called one council here to try and find those efficiencies.”

In 2010/11, 288 jobs were lost at the council compared with just 100 starting. However, these disparities in staffing levels have not reached the same levels in recent years.

In 2014,15, 133 jobs were lost at the council with 122 new starters and since April 2015, 155 jobs have been lost with 109 starting.

Despite needing to make £1.65m in savings by 2016/17 and facing the prospect of losing all Government funding by 2020, Coun Cooper does not believe the council will continue to cut jobs.

He said: “You reach critical mass at some point. Without having the necessary staff at the right level to do the job we would not be able to continue working well as a council.

"I don’t see the same scale of staff reduction, that is not going to happen, the future of the council is in our own hands.

“We know we have a team of very professional, very skilled individuals in the council who can deliver these services in the community.”