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Essex County Council cutting IT jobs

Local authority in 'modernisation' programme

Essex County Council is cutting IT jobs as part of a programme to modernise its information services and save £32 million in costs.

The cuts are part of a wider job cull at the council, under the council's transformation programme to achieve £300 million over four years, which may result in 429 redundancies.

"As part of our ambitious Essex Works: Customer First Transformation agenda, the Information Services Modernisation programme is set to deliver £32 million savings over the next five years through changing the way we deliver IT provision.

"This will require some reduction in the size of our IS team as well as changing the way ICT is used across the county. However, it is too early to provide specific details," an Essex County Council spokesperson said.

The council's CIO is David Wilde, who recently joined from Westminster City Council.

Essex County Council said that it had already saved half, £150 million, of the savings target through "smarter working".

To achieve further savings, the council plans to cut jobs in its business support, corporate services, schools and education and youth service, as well as IT.

Essex County Council said that it would look to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies by reviewing temporary and agency posts, and using voluntary redundancy where appropriate.

Councillor David Finch, deputy leader and cabinet member responsible for the transformation programme, said: "Essex County Council is no different to any other organisation that needs to get into shape if it is going to cope with these challenging economic times. Reduced budgets have had a direct impact on the county council's headcount and as such these changes have to be announced."

The council currently employs 9,000 people, excluding school staff. It received a grant from central government in January that was £40 million less than that of last year. As a result, Essex County Council had to find nearly £130 million this year to balance the budget.

Separately, Lord Hanningfield, the council leader who championed a multi-billion-pound outsourcing deal with IBM for Essex County Council, has been confirmed this week as having finally left the council after his second appeal on his MPs expenses conviction expired.

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