A local paper in Greenwich has discovered that, after spending over half-a-million quid on redundancy payments for twelve HR people, the local council then went out and recruited eleven new ones. The newspaper monitored job advertisements from the London Borough of Greenwich and used a Freedom of Information request to find out about the redundancy payments.
This sort of thing is not unusual. A number of organisations are re-designing their HR functions in response to changing business needs. Few business environments will change as radically as the public sector over the next few years so it makes sense for local authorities and other public organisations to re-configure their HR functions. Inevitably, this will mean that some of the existing staff don’t have the necessary skills and some new people will need to be hired.
That said, it is also inevitable that some managers will use these re-organisations as a way to get rid of people they don’t like or who they feel haven’t been performing well. Like outsourcing, reorganisations provide an ideal opportunity for lemon dropping.
If you monitored job ads and submitted FOI requests to a number of councils around the country, you would probably find a similar story. Spending £500k to get rid of people and then recruiting a similar number back again looks bonkers when you put it into a newspaper headline but private sector organisations have been doing this sort of thing for years. Sometimes you just need to clear people out and get some new ones in. Paying people off can work out cheaper than trying to retrain or redeploy them.