Lib Dems call for review of departure process for council staff

Sally Beardsworth will raise the motion at full council
Sally Beardsworth will raise the motion at full council

Northampton’s Liberal Democrat group are calling on the borough council to review the process that is followed when staff decide to leave the authority.

The two opposition councillors making up the party, Councillor Sally Beardsworth and Councillor Dennis Meredith, will raise a motion at next Monday’s full council meeting (January 14) as the duo feel that too many good members of staff are choosing to leave ahead of the likely transition to a new unitary authority in 2020.

Councillor Beardsworth says that although the council has HR policies and procedures in place, these ‘need to be understood and adhered to to achieve the goal of retaining good members of staff’.

The motion calls on chief executive George Candler to review the departure of members of staff in the final quarter of 2018 to decide if the current policies and procedures are as strong as they should be to ensure that good staff are retained.

It also requests to assess whether managers, supervisory staff and councillors require additional training to help them ‘understand their role in implementing these policies’.

This year is likely to be the final full year of Northampton Borough Council’s existence, with an ongoing review of the local government structure taking place following the financial crisis at Northamptonshire County Council.

The Government is likely to approve the creation of two new unitary authority councils to replace the county council and the seven district and borough councils, including NBC. It is a route the Government heavily steered themselves.

But that uncertainty may have played its part in a number of council workers seeking their fortunes, and more stability, elsewhere.

The Liberal Democrat motion reads: “This council recognises the importance of retaining good members of staff over the next 15 months to ensure that skilled staff are available to transfer to a new unitary authority to continue to provide good local government services to the residents of Northampton.

“The council recognises that a number of good members of staff left the authority towards the end of 2018 and their knowledge and skills have been lost to the future unitary authority.”

The motion will require the backing of fellow opposition councillors on the Labour benches, as well as a number of Conservative councillors, if it is to be approved when they meet at The Guildhall on Monday.