Belfast Telegraph

Minister moves to reassure local government staff

Stormont Executive press release - Department of the Environment

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced that open competition will not extend beyond the appointment of Chief Executives in the 11 new councils.

The Minister was addressing growing concern among council staff about uncertainty when it comes to their jobs as part of local government reform.

Mr Durkan explained: “My predecessor announced in the summer that Chief Executive appointments to the new councils will be made through open competition. This was ratified by the Assembly and remains unchanged.

“However, I am aware of a growing concern that open competition will be extended to other posts within local government and as a result current employees are worried they could lose out. I can assure council staff that this is not the case. All other posts will be filled using procedures that are being negotiated and agreed by Trade Unions.

"I have listened to council staff across the north and their representatives. I have taken this decision so that I can bring certainty to staff and reassure them that these procedures will also minimise the risk of redundancy.

“This reform programme is a major opportunity for local government in Northern Ireland. It will allow councils to be more efficient, more effective and more responsive to local needs – ultimately making local government work better for, and mean more to, our local citizens. It is the biggest shake up of local government for more than 40 years. However with change also comes uncertainty and I understand that for some staff, this is an issue they may be anxious about. I hope today’s clarification helps allay any concerns on this matter.”

The Minister concluded: “I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank staff in the sector who, along with councillors and central government colleagues, are working extremely hard to deliver this challenging programme.”

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