Morale is low at Rother Council claims Rye Cllr

RYE Rother councillor Sam Souster has said he fears for the future of the district council.

Cllr Souster said morale among council staff was low as the council considers another round of job cuts.

He spoke of remaining staff facing much heavier workloads and raised concerns over the new organisational structure which he said was not about improving efficiency but “getting by with a reduced work-force.

Cllr Souster raised the concerns while giving his report to a meeting of Rye Town Council on Monday.

He said: “Some time ago staff was reduced by about 30. Since then three heads of department have been lost along with the chief executive.

“Now it is thought that further staff reductions are necessary because it was stated that £1 million savings need to be made as soon as possible because the council is currently suing its reserves to balance the budget, which is not sustainable in the long term.

“The workload is not decreasing but increasing in some areas due to Government policy.

“A one percent pay-rise for staff has been agreed but it should be pointed out they had their pay frozen for the past three years.

“It is obvious that morale is low and one senses an air of depression and uncertainty for the future throughout the building.

“One wonders if there is a future for Rother District Council.

“The new organisational structure is clearly not about improvement or efficiency, but about getting by with a reduced work-force and saving money.

“Some of the proposals are acceptable, but I have objected strongly to the restyled Overview and Scrutiny Committee having to undertake all aspects of the scrutiny function.

“The Services OSC and the Resource OSC, which operate at present, have much important business to transact with full agendas.

“If this scrutiny role is diluted then even more criticism of the process will arise and the Cabinet, which is comprised of one political party, could be wholly responsible for policy and decision making.

“With the officer’s report on tourism, which is very important and benefits the local economy, the declared requirement was to save up to £40,000.”