Larne Council makes provision for RPA severance payments

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A sum of up to £1 million is to be set aside to pay off any Larne Council staff who are made redundant because of RPA.

A Larne Times report which stated that only two senior officers qualified for the scheme was incorrect and we are happy to clarify the situation.

Our report (in paper dated January 8) was based on minutes of a confidential discussion in council. Since the report was published, the council has provided additional information which explains why the local authority is asking Government for a loan up to £1m as an “interim provision for funding any severance packages which become effective before the 1st of April”.

It makes clear that staff have until December, 2019 to apply for voluntary redundancy.

In a statement issued yesterday, the council indicated that the merger of Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena councils is less than 10 weeks away, adding: “While the time seems to be moving very quickly towards the deadline of March 31 the council staff have been planning for this over several years.

“The fusion of three council’s into one will deliver increased efficiencies and more effective delivery of local services. To address duplication of roles the Staff Severance Scheme was developed and agreed with the trade unions and the Local Government Reform Joint Forum (LGRJF) and adopted by all the councils.

“The scheme has allowed council employees who wish to do so to explore their options regarding a voluntary severance agreement before making a formal application. This scheme remains open until December, 2019.”

The Larne Council statement added: “The voluntary severance scheme is the same for all council staff employees and only applies to situations where the termination meets the criteria of being in the financial and managerial interests of the service and organisational need.

“To qualify, those whose role becomes surplus as a consequence of the merger and have been employed by the council for more than two years, also those who transferred from another council to Larne, will have all of their service counted in any calculation surrounding entitlement to a severance arrangement. Back pay and pension entitlements will also be calculated using the agreed criteria before an overall figure is reached for consideration and measured against the financial and managerial interests of the service and the organisational need.”

According to the LGRJF, it is anticipated that the Severance Scheme for Local Government will have” only minimal application”.

“Nonetheless,” stated Larne Council, “each council must make interim provision for funding any severance packages which become effective before the 1st of April and in this regard Larne Borough Council has drawn down a provision of £1m budget to meet severance payments and all associated costs”.