A REPORT which recommends the axing of staff from Monmouthshire council’s libraries and one stop shops will go back to its cabinet after councillors recommended looking again at the measures.
As part of plans to save up to £1.7 million in the authority’s enterprise department, chief officer Kellie Beirne has recommended the loss of 13 full-time posts with a merger of libraries and one stop shop services.
A further four full-time posts would be reduced to 2.5 jobs, along with one other full-time support staff member in the libraries management team, if the plan gets the go ahead.
Councillors on the strong communities select committee voted for those clauses to be removed from the Building the Establishment and Capacity for Enterprise report and be put back to cabinet for further scrutiny at a meeting early next month. All other clauses, which include plans for other job losses and the creation of others in the department, were passed by members.
Councillor Kevin Williams said he was supportive of the proposals being looked at again.
The ward councillor for Llanwenarth Ultra told the committee: “Combining [the libraries and the one stop shops] will be difficult – I’m not saying they will be impossible. We’re losing a lot of intelligent and experienced people from our one stop shops. I’m not happy with that.”
Fellow Labour councillor Peter Farley said he had been reassured by assurances given by officers over their plans but said residents in Chepstow, with the absence of a town team, had to be consulted on potential reductions to services.
Ms Beirne earlier told councillors they had to “get real” about the true scale of the cuts and that staff are “really, really concerned for the future”.
She added her department is facing up to 20 per cent cuts next year: “We have taken the lowest hanging fruit – we’re into really tough decisions. There is nowhere left for us to go.”
But cabinet member Cllr Phil Murphy, who is also a member of the committee, said change proposed by officers was vital to keep services running.
He said: “Just to say something works doesn’t mean it won’t work in another way. The present structure is too expensive to survive.”