Major Barking and Dagenham council shake-up set to go ahead

Ambition 2020 will go ahead

Ambition 2020 will go ahead - Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson

A drastic restructuring of the council is set to go ahead following a public consultation.

The reorganisation of services – which will include the loss of 500 jobs – will be introduced progressively over the next four years in an attempt to plug the £63m shortfall created by forthcoming government cuts.

Departments will work in a more co-ordinated fashion while also targeting the root of issues, with a timeline for the shake-up set to be announced in September.

More than four out of every five respondents agreed with some or all of the proposals, dubbed Ambition 2020, during the six-week consultation process. A substantial number of residents also left detailed comments which will feed into the restructure.

Leader of the council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, has welcomed the public’s support.

“Our plan is designed to focus council services – and those of our partners – on tackling these deep-seated problems with the resources and opportunities we’ve got,” he said.

“There’s clearly no quick fix, but the consultation has demonstrated overwhelming public support for change.”

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Cllr Rodwell previously admitted that residents will need to come together and do their bit “like they did in the war” as the restructure comes into effect.

The council is set to lose a third of its budget across the next three years, on top of the £90m it has lost in the past four years.

Redundancy payments to staff will remain at current rates following a council U-turn on a previous decision to reduce payments from October.

Cllr Dominic Twomey, cabinet member for finance growth and investment, said the council had listened to staff concerns.

Further consultation with service users, staff and partner organisations will be arranged as the council begins to draw up plans.