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 Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:03 pm

From http://waterbriefing.org/home/water-issues/item/8269-environment-agency-to-lose-around-1400-jobs-over-10-of-its-staff

The Environment Agency is to lose around 1400 jobs – more than 10% of its staff – as a result of further cuts to departmental budgets.

The Agency currently has around 12,200 employees and an annual budget of more than £1.3bn a year.

In a surprise note to employees from the chief executive and chair of the agency on 10 October, the organisation told staff that the Chancellor's recent announcement of further cuts to departmental budgets would mean around 1,400 job loses.

Prospect, the union for UK professionals including engineers, scientists and managers, has reacted angrily to the news that the Environment Agency is to lose more than 10 per cent of its staff as a result of the current round of austerity cuts.

Prospect currently has 600 specialist members in the Environment Agency.

According to the union, the funding pressures do not fall equally across the Environment Agency’s activities, so it is unclear which services will suffer most and which jobs are most at risk. Prospect said that the scale of the cutbacks would however make it inevitable that all services will suffer to some degree.

Prospect negotiator Kevin Warden said:

“The proposed decimation of Environment Agency jobs will have a detrimental effect on the lives of millions of people in England.

“Cuts of this scale will affect all frontline services. For example, the organisation's flood warning service is staffed out of hours by members in all functions, not just flood risk management, so inevitably the warning service will suffer. The public has grown used to a world leading incident management response from the Agency at times of crisis: this is clearly threatened.”

Senior managers at the Agency decided which services would be cut and by how much last week. Their recommendations were put to the Agency's Board on 17 October – to date no official announcement has been made about the cuts or when and where they are likely to be implemented.
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:05 pm

Heard about this on Friday, apparently flood defence will be ring fenced understandably, but what about fisheries, can only be bad news.
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:00 pm

It gets worse...

Environment Agency job cuts bigger and quicker than expected
25 Oct 2013
(Original news item on the ENDS Report website)

The Environment Agency is to cut its staffing levels by 15% by next October, according to a statement given to ENDS.

The body is facing a far bigger cut in funding from DEFRA than previously expected, and as a result is having to drop staff from its current 11,400 to 9,700 by October 2014.

The fact the flood defence budget is protected appears to be impacting on staffing levels.

The situation is fast developing. Just two weeks ago, the agency’s chairman, Lord Chris Smith, and chief executive, Paul Leinster, sent an email to all staff saying numbers would have to be reduced to 10,000 by October 2016.

The news that cuts would actually be bigger than that, and over 12 months rather than three years, was broken to staff in an online question and answer session with senior management on 22 October.

“Our budget for 2014/15 will be confirmed shortly,” says the statement given to ENDS. “However, we are likely to reduce staff numbers... to around 9,700 by October 2014.

“We will then aim to keep numbers broadly at that level through to March 2015 dependent of course on future funding.

“We will only achieve this by looking across the whole organisation at our ways of working and structures.”

ENDS understands the agency is considering amalgamating some of its existing regions and area offices, and that it is also looking at what functions it can no longer afford to do.

ENDS has spoken to several agency staff. All said the mood in the body was one of great concern.

“There was an initial feeling it’d just be needling around the edges,” said one, “but it’s now clear this is a root and branch restructuring and nobody’s job is safe and that’s led to a lot of worries.”

The cuts could severely impact the agency’s ability to function, another said. “We’ve already changed our ways of working so we regulate industry in a much more risk-based way and we rely on operators to self-report problems. We’ll do a lot more of that I guess, but how can you guarantee businesses are self-reporting properly if you don’t have the staff to check the reports?”

Another said that political priorities would clearly shape what the agency decides to do in future, and sarcastically remarked that anyone working on shale gas projects would be safe.

During the online question and answer session, staff members apparently asked if the agency could increase the fees it charges industry to make up for the budget shortfall. They were told that was not politically acceptable.

The news of the depth of the cuts has caused concern among NGOs. Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth's director of policy and campaigns, said: "It's a disgrace. We've always been told by this government that cuts will not affect basic environmental protection and this is completely counter to that. This will make it impossible for the Agency to do what it already does. It'll hit its role at the most basic level."

DEFRA would not provide ENDS with a comment on the budget cuts or its implications.

- See more at: http://www.cieem.net/news/144/environment-agency-job-cuts-bigger-and-quicker-than-expected#sthash.p6eJVZa3.dpuf
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:43 pm

govornment budget cuts here will plainly force the agency to look for funding elsewhere. i dont know but i suspect, rod licence fees and boat registration fees go into a great big pot and the resulting cash does not go directly to the agency. a bit like your road tax doesnt actually get spent on the roads, but goes directly to to h.m.g. then they decide how many potholes to repair. without a doubt any job cuts will make us see less of a presence on the water and on the bank, as the few who remain will be forced to multi task or stretch their areas of operation. cant see any plus side here. sorry.
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:44 pm

Agree Patrick, cuts and more cuts, why not just cut the number of mp's and their salaries.
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:45 am

Hmm - the reality is that MP's, expenses and all, don't get huge amounts of our cash. Certainly a lot less than they waste anyway. As anglers we are going to have to face up to paying more for our fishing - rod licences and subscriptions - if we don't want to see our fisheries decline. Money, lots of it, is what is required. And it ain't coming from anywhere else than our pockets!

And as I work for a company largely funded by the taxpayer and facing 15% reduction in management staff costs, spare a thought for the EA staff facing an uncertain future.
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:32 am

I have no great love for the Environment Agency, and I’m sure there is the usual waste that goes along with unaccountable government agencies. However, this move is likely to be severely damaging. The pace of the cuts will mean that a genuine restructuring is unlikely. The sole motivation anyway appears to be cost saving, not reform.

They will go for “low hanging fruit” – like fisheries staff – and the result will be an upper-management heavy, demoralised body that will seek to regain revenue from the few sources it controls, like rod licences.

Hopefully the Angling Trust etc will keep some pressure on to stop the worst excesses.
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PostSubject: Re: Environment Agency to lose around 1400 jobs - over 10% of its staff   Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:58 am

Richard Howkins wrote:
Hmm - the reality is that MP's, expenses and all, don't get huge amounts of our cash. Certainly a lot less than they waste anyway. As anglers we are going to have to face up to paying more for our fishing - rod licences and subscriptions - if we don't want to see our fisheries decline. Money, lots of it, is what is required. And it ain't coming from anywhere else than our pockets!

And as I work for a company largely funded by the taxpayer and facing 15% reduction in management staff costs, spare a thought for the EA staff facing an uncertain future.
Spot on Richard. We know lots of very talented people in fisheries and must be a pretty awful time.
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