Institute axes jobs.

Redundancies of nearly 50 district society staff at the English ICA have been proposed following a radical review of the institute’s regional network.

The drastic action is revealed in a confidential plan, ‘Getting Closer to Members’, which was due to be debated at a crunch council meeting of the institute yesterday.

Following a controversial review of the district society structure, the report recommends the institute moves to a regional structure, retaining the district societies in name but moving the administration of the societies to regional business centres.

Existing staff will be able to apply for new jobs within the structure, but will also be offered early retirement and redundancy. The 22 district societies currently employ 48 full and part-time staff.

The report says there is an uneven distribution of resources, and proposes the creation of ten regional centres employing a regional manager and a co-ordinator, with the employment of more staff depending on the needs of the area.

The report is working to a ‘worst case’ cost of #256,000 if all existing staff are made redundant or take early retirement, though it is anticipated that some of the staff will be re-employed in the new structure.

The institute declined to comment on the details of the report, but confirmed in a statement that following approval of the plans the new structure would be in place by the end of July 2001.

President of the North West society Michael Barton said his local committee had debated the report and given it whole-hearted support. But others have expressed reservations over the loss of premises and staff, believing that the move would not bring the institute closer to members.

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