OB misfortunes at the county’s archive service couldn’t be precluded yesterday as the council came in for heavy criticism over plans to slice its budget plan by the half next year.
A draft budget approved by Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet at a gathering in December laid out a £405,000 cut to the archive and archeological administration one year from now which would mean the service next year which would mean the service, based at the Hive in Worcester, would have its budget slashed from £700,000 to £295,000.
At a council meeting, Councilor Richard Udall asked Cllr Hodgson to console the service’s staff over the possibility of compulsory redundancies.
He said that Cllr Hodgson’s desire to remove the part of the motion which asked the council to confirm there would be no compulsory redundancies was “effectively giving notice to staff that they would soon be losing their jobs.”
He included the move was “shocking, callous and mean.”
An altered Labor movement which stated the board would “endeavour to” ensure the archive and archaeological service was inevitably passed at a full gathering of the county council on Thursday (January 17)
Cllr Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for communities, said she recognised the county’s archive and archaeology service was “well-loved” but the council was having to make a number of difficult decisions whilst it looked at where it was financially.
Cllr Hodgson agreed to form an advisory group – to iron out where savings can be made and how the service can generate more money – but said she could not support Labour’s motion of supporting no compulsory redundancies and said the council had to remain “flexible” with budgets.
Cllr Chris Bloore blamed the council of ignoring the recommendations of an scrutiny report from 2014 into the archive services and called the proposed cut a “self-inflicted wound” and the lack of action had “come back to bite” the council.
He stated: “Once more we have been uncovered of not taking every necessary step that we ought to have been doing but again another administration is on the edge as a result of it.”