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Highlands and Islands Enterprise To Cut Staff Numbers

13th February 2010

HIE efficiency drive aims to put more resources towards priorities

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is to reorganise its workforce to better deliver its role in supporting the region's economic and community development.

The agency is to target greater resources towards a number of priority areas of work, while also running a voluntary severance scheme with the aim of reducing staff numbers and payroll costs overall.

HIE currently employs 318 FTE staff. Through reorganisation, it expects to reduce staffing by around 30-45 posts.

Chair of HIE William Roe explained: "The fact that HIE's role has changed over the last two years is well known. We successfully transferred responsibility for business start-ups and for businesses serving local markets to local authorities last year through the Business Gateway model.

"Now that we are able to fully concentrate on supporting the region's ambitions to grow, we have developed a clearer idea of how best we can perform this role and how best to resource it.

"Like any modern business or organisation, HIE is always seeking ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. By reorganising our workforce we can reduce our overheads and target more of our budget into direct investment in ambitious businesses and communities across all parts of the Highlands and Islands, including our most fragile areas."

Priority activities which HIE plans to resource more strongly in future include its support for key sectors such as renewable energy, universities, life sciences, tourism, food and drink, creative industries, and business services.

It also plans to increase its focus on social enterprise, internationalisation, innovation, entrepreneurship, and helping to foster a low-carbon economy.

Mr Roe emphasised that HIE, in common with every other public sector body in the UK, is committed to improve both effectiveness and efficiency and that the agency's board was confident that this would be achieved by the forthcoming changes.

"Perhaps more than ever before, communities and businesses in this diverse rural region have real opportunities to be global models of excellence. We continually strive to ensure that our agency is absolutely fit for the purpose of helping them to achieve their potential.

"To do this we need to make savings in parts of our operation, and this includes our wage bill, while we continue to work on identifying those aspects of our role we need to strengthen."

In line with Scottish Government policy, there will be no compulsory redundancies.


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