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Shirehall staff to make way for new office suite

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Shirehall staff were today said to be angry at being "displaced" so that a suite of offices can be created for senior Shropshire Council managers. The move was branded a waste of taxpayers' money.

Shirehall staff were today said to be angry at being "displaced" so that a suite of offices can be created for senior Shropshire Council managers. The move was branded a waste of taxpayers' money.

But the decision has been defended by chief executive Kim Ryley who claimed the costs were "minimal" and that bringing managers into a single location would make their work "more effective".

A member of staff, who did not wish to be named for fear of losing their job, said about 100 employees from the ground floor west wing offices at the Shirehall were being displaced and that builders were coming in to prepare glass petition walls and an executive reception area.

The source said: "Understandably staff are angry about this, especially given that they are frontline and customer-facing, supposedly a priority for the authority.

"These staff are already struggling to cope with the backlog of work that the badly conceived transition to the new unitary authority left.

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"Now they find themselves under the additional pressure of being pushed to the margins and moving not once, but twice."

The scheme was a waste of taxpayers' money, given that staff had been told vacant posts would not be filled, and requests for equipment such as new computer screens, were being ignored.

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The source added: "I see frontline staff working with barely functioning IT equipment, outdated programmes, and layer upon layer of management, trying to offer an often ungrateful public the service they both deserve and expect.

"I see public money being squandered on such schemes, roadshows, non-jobs and so on, while we are lectured on austerity and going the extra mile with less resources or staff."

But Mr Ryley said the council was constantly relocating staff to get better services by "joining up related functions" as it did in the move to unitary status.

"There are often moves going on in Shirehall and other council offices, and this change is a small example of that process," he said.

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"It is designed to bring all senior managers into one location, which will make their work more effective.

"All we are doing is moving staff to accommodate that change. The costs involved are minimal. We are using existing equipment and furniture.

"This is part of wider changes which are about getting frontline services closer to people where they live, and making sure that staff are in the best place to deliver services."

By Dave Morris

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