National Trust staff to enter consultation over job cuts

Consultation has begun on the National Trust's restructuring plan that will see the closure of three regional offices and the loss of around 60 jobs.

Last month, the trust unveiled the second phase of its year-long plan, contained in the Going Local strategy document. The proposals have now been put to staff, who have 90 days to consult. Job losses will be concentrated in Swindon, London and the regional offices.

Mergers will see the trust's nine English regions slimmed to six, while the Wales and Northern Ireland offices will be largely unaffected. The East and West Midlands, will merge, as will Thames and Solent with the South East and Wessex with Devon and Cornwall.

The trust has billed the changes as a positive step towards cutting bureaucracy and devolving power to its properties to meet its target of five million members by 2020.

A consultancy formed of 500 specialist staff drawn from regional offices will be created to deliver central services. National Trust director-general Fiona Reynolds said the cuts would lead to greater efficiency.

The proposal outlines a potential £10m saving over a three-year period. The trust hopes it will result from a reduction in bureaucracy and duplication of effort.

Plans were unveiled in February and the first phase has now been completed. Changes involved creating a regional management structure that the trust said "empowered property teams, freeing them to take more decisions and giving them control over budgets".

Under the second phase, specialist conservation and visitor experts will become part of the new National Trust consultancy.

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