EA to Restructure After Funding Cuts21 November 2013
The Environment Agency is to restructure over the next twelve months to reduce the overall size of the organisation. This follows a substantial cut in government funding, which is likely to see a loss of 1,700 jobs in the Agency as part of the process. The Agency’s staff will reduce to 9,700 posts by October 2014 from the current level of 11,400 – a reduction itself of 1,800 from October 2011 when it was 13,200, so overall the Agency’s staff will reduce by 3,500 (26.5%) in three years.
The Agency currently has a three-tiered business model, with coordination nationally, regionally and by area. EA plans to change to a two-tier model, removing the regional management. EA says this would allow it to do more things nationally but engage with local communities through delivery at area level, whilst making the most of the funding it has. The implications of this on Navigation are unclear at the moment, other than almost certain reducing funding leading to less maintenance and capital works, and costs to boaters increasing more than inflation year-on-year. These developments highlight how unfortunate the Government’s decision earlier this year to postpone the transfer of the Agency’s navigations to Canal & River Trust was, but should serve to strengthen Thames and other EA navigations boaters’ resolve to press for the transfer as soon as possible.
Whilst the Agency has yet to make a formal announcement, it is planning the timetable for this restructure, which will include consultations with staff, trade unions, partners and stakeholders.