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Another 350 jobs are axed in Northern Ireland Civil Service

DSD becomes second department in a week to plan major staff cuts

By Noel McAdam

Civil servants have been dealt a second jobs blow in a week after the Department for Social Development described 350 posts as “surplus”.





The news comes just days after the Department for the Environment said it planned to “remove” 350 jobs in the next year.

The DSD said it hopes the mostly administrative posts can be redeployed within the wider Civil Service next year.

But with other departments also cutting back there are growing fears that a large number of jobs will be lost as the public spending squeeze starts to tighten.

A spokesman for the DSD said: “Like all other Northern Ireland departments we are facing a difficult budgetary position.”



The Department for Social Development (DSD) said it hopes the mostly administrative posts can be redeployed, if need be, within the wider Civil Service.

But with other departments also cutting back, there are growing fears that at least a sizeable proportion of the jobs will be lost.

The Department of the Environment has also said it plans to “remove” 350 jobs in the next year — 270 of them from the Planning Service, including specialist staff who may have difficulty finding positions elsewhere.

But it will also involve staff in the Driver and Vehicle Authority, NI Environment Agency and the local government policy branch.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the the DSD said: “Like all other Northern Ireland Departments, we are facing a difficult budgetary position.

“As a result of both known and anticipated budget reductions for the financial year 2011/12, staff numbers will have to reduce in order to ensure that the department can live within its resources.

“The department is still finalising its budget and staffing position but at present it is estimated that by March 2011, the department will have around 350 surplus staff in a range of administrative grades to be redeployed.”

A statement said the DSD — by far the largest department in Northern Ireland, with more than 7,000 staff — anticipates that it will be able to manage the vast majority of surplus numbers “through staff turnover and will seek to redeploy staff within the department before looking to the wider Civil Service”.

“Throughout this difficult financial period, the department will seek to mitigate any impact on frontline services.”

As with the looming DoE cutbacks, talks have already opened with the main Civil Service union, the NI Public Service Alliance (NIPSA), to see whether the jobs can be redeployed.

Official Tony McMullan said: “We have already had a number of meetings and are planning to have another before the end of July.

“NIPSA is obviously opposed to any job losses but at this point in time I am not in a position to comment because we have not been told the extent of any surplus staff or in which sections they are said to be.”

The details of departmental budget restraints are expected to be discussed this week at the last Executive meeting before its summer break.

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