PCS was notified in March that CC needed to reduce costs by around £2million and that up to 50 posts were in danger of being cut. PCS immediately responded to CC director Georgina Balmforth that redundancy avoidance measures should therefore be put in place. Rumours intensified when staff at HEO and SEO grades were asked to complete surveys about their roles in Croydon and Liverpool. Confirmation was finally received in July when management announced plans to reduce staffing levels nationally from 832 to 790 with the axe falling mainly on HEOs/SEOs in Croydon and Liverpool. The timing seemed curious as it coincided with the arrival of Boris Johnson in Downing Street and his trusted lieutenant Priti Patel down the road at Marsham Street.
The new prime minister was quickly writing blank cheques while Ms Patel spoke of wanting criminals to ‘literally feel terror’. It was therefore odd that Ms Patel’s department was seeking to cut staff dealing directly with the deportation of foreign nationals convicted of serious offences.
Affected staff made clear in meetings with local reps that their role is fundamental to CC work and any cuts will seriously impact the functioning of this area of our work. The HEOs function simultaneously as senior caseworkers and technical specialists. They have amassed a wealth of experience since CC came into its present form in 2006 following events that cost a previous home secretary his job.
As Front Line goes to press CC has confirmed its intention to reduce staff numbers at HEO/SEO level. Please contact Stephen Taylor, Patricia Corrigan, Derek Mellor (Liverpool) or Malcolm Davey (Croydon) to have your say.