As I mentioned earlier today, I’ve been sent a couple of emails that were issued to all (remaining!) staff at Land Registry last week. As people still seem to pop in here hoping to find out what’s going on, here they are.
This one’s the biggie: plans were already in place to reduce staff numbers to 3800 by the end of 2014/15, but that phase of the transformation has been brought forward drastically. The aim is now to reach that headcount by 2011/12. Headcount at 1st April was 4846, so broadly speaking they’re looking to get rid of another 1046 staff within the next year. A further Voluntary Severance Scheme has been announced to achieve this. Here’s the full email:
Targeted Voluntary Severance Schemes
The Land Registry Board has decided to run a targeted Voluntary Severance Scheme.
This scheme is being run as part of the Accelerated Transformation Programme (ATP). This will help Land Registry to reduce its headcount to achieve the targets set out in the ATP decisions. These schemes will be the final staff reduction schemes run under ATP.
This scheme is not affected by or part of the Feasibility Study. Any changes to the organisation as a result of the study would not be dealt with under the ATP but would be implemented under a new and separate programme. That programme would be led by Ministry of Justice. All the options considered by the Feasibility Study assumed that we would successfully deliver the ATP objectives, including the headcount reductions.
Consultation with the DTUS [Departmental Trades Union Side] is ongoing on the different elements of the scheme.
Background to staff reductions
The ATP set out plans to reduce headcount in Land Registry to 4600 by the end of 2011/12 (phase 1) and to 3800 by the end of 2014/15 (phase 2). Initial ATP plans looked for 120 exits in phase 1. The remaining exits would be through phase 2 reductions and natural attrition.
The headcount as at 1 April was 4846 FTEs (full time equivalents). There will be further exits this year from closing offices, RA/RO schemes and outsourcing.
Bringing forward phase 2
Phase 2 has now been brought forward and all remaining ATP exits will be in 2011/12.
The key reasons for this decision are:
- Intakes are not as high as the ATP Business case projected. The budget for 2011/12 is 9m units as opposed to 11m units in the ATP Business Case.
- The Land Registry Board has taken the strategic business decision to reduce the amount of voluntary registration work we seek and process. This reduces the number of staff needed to complete this work.
- We may well not see as many people leaving through natural wastage as we have done so previously (attrition). The current economic climate is likely to impact on people decisions.
- The merging of offices, management reviews, overall reduction in size of the organisation together with redistributing casework from closing local offices has left imbalances of staff/grades in some local offices and Head Office functions.
- External drivers such as the introduction of Next Generation HR.
Where it will be offered
A targeted voluntary exit scheme will be run in selected local offices for selected grades and roles. This scheme is being launched today and further information can be found by following this link [This was an internal intranet link so needless to say it doesn't work here, so I can't supply the "further information" referred to. TC].
We intend to run targeted severance schemes in IS [Information Services], HR [Human Resources] and PPC (project and Programme Centre) but this is at an early stage and we will continue to consult with the DTUS before making any final decisions. These schemes would be targeted to specific pools within those groups. As soon as there is any more information on these schemes, we will let affected staff know.
I would urge all of you in the offices, roles and grades where we are offering voluntary severance to consider very carefully the information we are providing before making a decision on whether to apply. If you have any questions about the CSCS [Civil Service Compensation Scheme (ie, redundancy package)] which cannot be answered by reference to the information we are publishing on the intranet or to the Civil Service web site, then please make sure you direct your question to the Transition Team who will do their best to help. If you have questions about the scheme or the process then please speak to your Head of Group, Area Manager or Operations Manager. However, we cannot advise you on what decision to take or on how future changes in Land Registry might affect you, your team or your office. This is an important decision, but ultimately a personal decision which needs to be based on what we know now about plans for the future and reflect your own personal circumstances and aspirations.
The next email refers to the Feasibility Study referred to in the introduction to the first one. I have to confess, I can’t actually remember what the Feasibility Study was looking into (I mentioned it back here if you’re interested) but the latest email was just saying that the announcement of the outcome will be delayed. For the sake of completeness, here it is:
The last message from Marco about the Feasibility Study on 18 March said the outcome of the Feasibility Study would not be announced until after the local elections on 5 May. This was because, given Land Registry’s importance in the housing market and wider questions about policy on use of public data, Ministers wanted to give thorough consideration to the findings of the study before making any decisions or announcements about our future direction.
I regret I am still unable to confirm the date of an announcement, though discussions are continuing to try to resolve the outstanding issues.
The key issue to resolve is the interaction between decisions on the future direction for Land Registry and the Government’s proposal to develop a Public Data Corporation (PDC). The PDC concept is still at an early stage of development, but its key objectives were set out in January and can be found here http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/public-data-corporation-free-public-data-and-drive-innovation
Ministers are keen to understand better how the PDC proposals might impact on Land Registry and the data we hold prior to making any announcements about the Feasibility Study. This is the main reason for the delay.
In the meantime and in order to avoid further delays once a decision has been reached, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have begun to put together a team of staff who will work with the Board to take the preferred option forward. Yvonne Thomas has been appointed as Director of HM Land Registry Reform to lead the team within MoJ.
I understand the uncertainty that further delays cause and we are pressing for an announcement to be made as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the wider policy issues for Government are complex and are out of our control. I will update you again as soon as we have any further developments.
That’s all I know.