Frontline EHOs facing redundancies
Crawley BC have confirmed it is cutting its environmental health team by a third, but has denied allegations by a whistleblower that public health would be put at risk.
Six of the 17-strong team will go by 1 August, including five full-time and one part-time post. The council said the decision had been taken earlier in the year.
But contrary to an assertion made by environment and housing director Peter Browning in the local press, the majority of job loses are frontline staff.
A spokesperson told EHN only one manager level position was being deleted, compared to two-and-a-half senior EHO posts, one senior health and safety inspector and one technical support officer.
Reports in the local press citing an ‘anonymous whistleblower’ that the risk to the public would be increased as a result were denied by Mr Browning. He claimed: ‘The public will not notice any difference in frontline services.’
The council said it had undertaken ‘extensive staff consultations’ when planning the job cuts and changes to the department.
The spokesperson added: ‘The changes required by central government on our approach to health and safety plus other legislative changes around public drainage, etc, means that it was an appropriate time to review the service.
‘That review allowed us to refocus on the key public health and environmental services needed by Crawley. This will free up time to concentrate on core aspects of the work and build resilience and flexibility.’
CIEH head of policy David Kidney said: ‘Public protection should surely be a top priority and the CIEH is concerned to learn of these substantial cuts in environmental and public health posts and the concern for public safety they are engendering.
‘I do not believe that the government is expecting councils to reduce such vital frontline services as occupational safety, public health and workplace wellbeing. I would expect to see much stronger justification – in terms of improved public protection and enhanced frontline services – than Crawley BC has yet presented.’