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NEWS SHOPPER has discovered Greenwich Council spent more than half-a-million pounds making 12 staff redundant from its human resources department only to replace them with 11 new people.

Jobs advertised on the council’s website in July included a lead HR business partner with a starting salary of £64, 827 while a principal pay and rewards officer was being offered £40, 716.

Eleven HR jobs appeared on the website with the starting salaries amounting to £402, 486.

This comes following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by News Shopper confirming 12 HR people had been made redundant since 2008 at the cost of £509, 059.

One job, a health, safety and wellbeing officer, was described as a “highly demanding role” requiring organisational skills and an analytical mind.

The advert said: “Delivering appropriate training, you’ll raise awareness of the importance of managing stress, mental health, weight and more, highlighting the benefits of physical fitness.”

Leader of the conservatives, councillor Spencer Drury, said: “At a time when we are having to make cuts across the council, employing more HR people is not going to improve the quality of services for residents.

“It seems to me this is a waste of money.”

The council estimates it may need to make £70m in savings but has not said where the cuts will be made.

Paul Callanan, from campaign group Greenwich Save Our Services, said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. At a time of cuts we think money should be invested.

“It’s important that the wellbeing of people who work for the council is taken care of but it’s not something the council should be doing.

“Health and safety officers are the role of trade unions.”

News Shopper submitted the FOI on July 16 asking the council how many people had been made redundant in the 2008/09 financial year and 2009/10 financial year and at what cost.

We received a response on September 28.

A council spokesman said: “Twelve old HR posts were made redundant as part of a reorganisation which was undertaken to reflect the need for different roles requiring completely new skills and experience. “These posts are part of the planned reorganisation of the service which is contained within existing budgets.”

Jobs advertised on Greenwich Council’s website in July

£64, 827 - Lead HR business partner

Advert extract: “Following a recent restructure, we’ve streamlined our HR department, moving away from a traditional personnel function to a business approach. That is why we’re now looking to appoint an ambitious lead business partner.”

£48, 876 - Business partner

£40, 716 - Principal pay and rewards officer

“You’ll be responsible for developing, monitoring and reviewing best practise pay and rewards policies - to ensure we’re achieving the best value for money.”

£36, 306 - Learning and development advisor - fixed contract for one year

“Innovative and inspirational in your approach, you’ll design, deliver and evaluate learning activities and plans, motivating and encouraging staff to develop and grow.”

£36, 306 - Principal health, safety and wellbeing officer

£33, 510 - Principal people centre officer

“You’ll offer advice and guidance when it comes to recruitment.”

£30, 987 - Health, safety and wellbeing officer

“You’ll develop innovative strategies to enhance health safety & wellbeing throughout our council.”

£30, 987 - Senior HR policy and projects officer

£29, 601 - Newly qualified health, safety and wellbeing officer

£26, 400 - HR coaching and advice officer

“Inspirational and innovative, you’ll harness the latest stress management and coaching skills to ensure we get the most from our people.”

£23, 970 - Trainee health, safety and wellbeing officer