South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council retirement savings approach £100m

Retirement Image copyright Google/Thinkstock
Image caption Nearly 700 staff have taken retirement/redundancy deals at the council over five years

Dumfries and Galloway Council has said it has achieved nearly £100m in cumulative savings by allowing hundreds of staff to retire early.

In the past five years nearly 700 employees have taken early retirement or voluntary severance (ERVS).

That has cost the council almost £17m in lump sums, redundancy payments and "lost" pension contributions.

However, a Freedom of Information response to the BBC shows that figure is dwarfed by the estimated savings.

A total of 691 people have taken ERVS from the local authority between 2010 and 2015 - more than 400 of them in the 2010/11 financial year.

They have received more than £12m between them in lump sums or redundancy payments.

The council has also had to make "compensation payments" to its pension fund totalling more than £4.5m to make up for the contributions lost.

That cost could be spread over three years but the local authority said that at present it pays it in full in the year the retirement decision is made.

'One-off' cost

The FoI response also outlines estimates of the savings achieved based on annual budgets - running to a cumulative total of more than £99m.

"The costs associated with a retiral are one-off," it stated.

"However, the savings achieved from their retiral are ongoing and should therefore be viewed on a cumulative basis."

The council stressed that it was not possible to establish the actual savings achieved directly from ERVS as data was not held in that format.

The estimates were based on agreed budgets from each individual year.

It was unable to answer one BBC request about the number of people who had taken early retirement and had subsequently returned to council employment in any capacity.

It said that information was not held on any of its systems.

Early retirement and voluntary severance costs and savings for Dumfries and Galloway Council
Year Retirals Total cost Cumulative savings
2010/11 425 £9,676,623.12 £10,398,000
2011/12 75 £1,629,208.91 £17,235,000
2012/13 38 £883,879.27 £20,442,000
2013/14 80 £2,269,912.69 £24,238,000
2014/15 73 £2,493,663.71 £27,005,000
TOTAL 691 £16,953,297.70 £99,318,000

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