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Staff turnover doubles after councils move offices

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are now based at Endeavour House in Ipswich. (2617009)
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are now based at Endeavour House in Ipswich. (2617009)

Questions have been raised over the effect the move of two Suffolk councils has had on its employees after staff turnover more than doubled.

Figures presented to Mid Suffolk District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee revealed that for the 2017/18 financial year – the year Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils moved to Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House in Ipswich – staff turnover was at 22.5per cent, compared to 10.5 per cent in 2016/17.

The report said that 122 employees left the two councils during that year, 20 of whom were on fixed term contracts for work specifically related to the move, which happened last September and October.

There were 23 staff who directly cited the move as a reason for resignation, though employees are not required to provide a reason.

The committee heard the planning team alone had lost 17 staff in the last 18 months.

The data also showed the number of sick days rose by 550 days from 2015/16, and that stress, anxiety or depression was the top reason.

Mid Suffolk chief executive Arthur Charvonia said the issue was not unique to Babergh and Mid Suffolk so comparative figures from other rural authorities will be presented to the committee in three months.

Officers revealed that a number of measures had been put in place, including the training of some staff as mental health nurses, and mechanisms for earlier intervention for staff who were struggling.

Conservative councillor Glen Horn said: “I have been satisfied that we have done everything we can to mitigate the impacts of the move, and we did expect some changes.”

Fellow Conservative committee member James Caston said: “I have got a lot of confidence what is going on is moving in the right direction.

“There are certainly issues with the move that have been very difficult for some people."

Speaking after the committee, Mid Suffolk Green Party councillor Rachel Eburne said it was a concern that staff were leaving and she felt the loss of experience had an impact on council services.

She added: “There should have been, with hindsight, during a major move such as this putting in place measures before the move happened to help staff through that process.”