£1m funding cut for West Yorkshire’s consumer and food testing HQ

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the umbrella body which oversees food testing and consumer investigations in Leeds and its neighbour cities could see up to 20 managerial jobs lost as bosses try to slash £1 million from their running costs.

West Yorkshire Joint Services (WYJS) - which includes trading standards, materials testing and public analyst services, as well as archives and archaeological teams - needs to cut its spending following a “desktop review” ordered by Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield councils, the five partner authorities which fund it.

As part of the savings action plan, between 10 and 20 managerial posts could be removed entirely, with the existing ‘chief officer’ post replaced by an external ‘business manager’ role. A trading arm could be set up within the revamped organisation to help bring in funds.

Councillor Peter Harrand, who represents Leeds City Council on the WYJS committee, said he was “sure that things involved with public health will not be affected” by any changes, as no front-line jobs were affected.

He said: “The chief executive has retired. We are suffering from lack of funds. This is a good time to look at what we do, to stop and think. It’s the responsible thing to do.”

He added there would be no compulsory redundancies as far as he knows.

A report approved by the Leeds City Council executive board this week, which gives the green-light for further discussions, said that the leaders of all five partner councils had requested a review of the management structure because of “pressures on local Government finances”. It recognised there were “key implications” and potential “risks” to pursuing the savings.

The savings options listed include the removal of 10-20 managerial posts. Also possible is a review of the salaries of all senior officers.

The report added: “West Yorkshire Joint Services has already put together a detailed analysis of the potential risks that they perceive to be associated with implementing the leaders’ suggested £1 million savings target.”

Councillor Ros Lund (Wakefield), who chairs the WYJS committee, welcomed the review, but promised that “high quality services to support the districts’ key priorities” would continue in the meantime.

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