HIGHLY trained staff who were being made redundant from a children’s special needs service have now been told they will be able to keep their jobs.

In total, 16 staff were put “at risk” of redundancy by the Gwent-wide Sensory and Communication Support Unit, which is funded by all five Gwent councils, as Newport Council announced they were withdrawing from it in October last year.

But it was later confirmed that 10 staff had taken voluntary redundancy from the service.

In February, Newport council rowed back on their controversial decision after severe criticism from other local authorities, politicians and national charities. A legal case challenging the validity of the move was also being prepared to go before the High Court.

Now, the service seems to be safe until at least 2022, with all five local authorities agreeing to fund it until the end of their administrations.

A spokesman for Torfaen Council confirmed all redundancy notices have been rescinded since Newport’s U-turn.

Concerns have been raised about the morale of staff at the service, with reports of long-term absences amongst the workers.

Speaking at a meeting of Monmouthshire council's children and young people select committee in February, head of SenCom Roger Thurlbeck said staff had known who would be facing redundancy, who would be staying and who would be leaving for an 'equivalent' service which Newport council pledged to set up.

But the U-Turn has created "significant uncertainty again" for staff who do not know what the future holds, Mr Thurlbeck said.

"We are in a state of uncertainty and some instability as well," he said.

"My absence level of staff has gone up over the last week or so.

"I have six members of staff away at the moment, five of those are directly related to the changes in management process we face."

**If you have been affected by any of these changes, you can contact the South Wales Argus anonymously by emailing sam.ferguson@gwent-wales.co.uk or calling 01633 777243. **