THE reorganisation programme in Yorkshire and the Dales is not
being driven by a financial target and a redundancy programme, the
programme director, John Tuckett said on Wednesday; but staff
concerns about jobs were "very real", and should not be
"We are not being driven by financial targets, with redundancy
programmes or anything like that. We are doing what is necessary to
support enhanced mission and make the best use of money that we get
from parishes as part of their giving," Mr Tuckett said.
The statement of need for the new Bishop of the diocese of West
Yorkshire & the Dales noted that there was "much concern
amongst office staff as to their future within the new diocese and
whether their jobs are safe". The Dioceses Commission's Scheme
assumes a ten-per-cent reduction in staff over five years. The
statement emphasises that this is "not an externally imposed target
that must be met".
On the Appointed Day (20 April), when contracts of employment
will shift to the new diocese, TUPE (transfer of undertakings for
the protection of employees) will apply: all staff will remain on
the same terms and conditions.
Nevertheless, the statement of need notes that "there will be
some staff whose jobs will be formally at risk and will disappear,"
including the staff of the three diocesan bishops. "Every effort is
being made to find suitable alternative employment, for those who
wish it, within the new diocese."
Mr Tuckett said of staff concerns that he and his team were
"allaying them as much as we can. . . In the process of this sort
of transition, there are always concerns by staff: that is only
natural, and I don't want to underplay it. . . It is a question of
communicating, and one can never do enough of it."
Last week, the Director of Education for the dioceses of
Bradford and Ripon & Leeds, the Revd Clive Sedgewick, who has
announced his resignation, said that the reorganisation would be
"very positive for the mission of the Church in education". There
was "no way this is going to save money", but it was a "golden
opportunity to rethink how the Church serves education and schools
in the coming years".
No decision has yet been made about the shape of the new
diocese's education team.
"I don't think it is good that, having known since July that we
are still going forward, we have got no long-term leadership," Mr
Sedgewick said. "It has perhaps not gone as smoothly or as rapidly
as we might have hoped. Having said that, it is just so new that we
want to get the best out of all aspects of this new board. We've
got to take our time, and think and be strategic."
He suggested that there were "a lot of lessons that can be
learned. I do think there are things which could be handled very
differently, and perhaps in a commercial world there would be a lot
more pain but more certainty . . . but I have confidence that the
diocese and Church of England will do everything it can to look
after its employees."
The Director of Education for the diocese of Wakefield, Canon
Ian Wildey, said on Wednesday that his staff had not expressed any
concerns about their positions, and that the Church's commitment to
"effective comunications" was "clearly being observed".
Ian Fletcher, a Bradford representative on the General Synod,
said last week that some people had been "slightly frustated" by
the timescale, and that "people would rather know sooner" about
changes that affected them.