Select committee echoes union fears over cuts

Select committee echoes union fears over cuts

Staff cuts of up to 31% proposed by the Department for Education and Skills are ill-thought out and owe more to an arbitrary bid to reduce the departmental head-count than a true drive for efficiency, specialist union Prospect has warned.

The union’s concerns over a proposed cut in DfES staff are echoed in a report today from the House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee, which found that: "The 31% proposed cut in DfES staffing has clearly not been effectively worked through."

Prospect negotiator Garry Graham stated: "We are seeking a positive dialogue with ministers and officials in DfES about the proposed changes.

"It is no coincidence that both the education select committee and unions within DfES are deeply concerned about the depth of the job losses and the impact that these may have, not only upon our members, but also upon service delivery in an area which is a stated government priority."

DfES has announced its intention to cut 1,460 jobs by April 2008 in order to save £70m per year. But Prospect is calling on the government to provide a detailed reasoning behind the 31% headline figure, a comprehensive assessment of the risks of making that reduction and ways in which those risks will be managed.

Prospect will be meeting with the new Secretary of State for Education, Ruth Kelly, early next week, and will be asking the minister to rethink the department’s approach.

It will underline its fears that the proposed changes are less to do with efficiency and effectiveness and more about a crude head-count reduction, which will have a negative impact on service delivery as well as placing additional unacceptable pressures upon the remaining staff.