Croydon Council has spent more than £2 million on redundancy pay-outs over the past three years, with more than £1 million of that sum in just one year.

A total of 216 members were let go between 2016/17 and 2018/19, the council revealed in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The toughest year was 2018/19 when 117 people lost their jobs.

This includes 25 people lost from the Council Homes District and Regeneration department and another 25 from the Place department, which includes libraries and caretaking services.

Overall, across the three years, the council spent £2,017,538 on redundancy pay-outs.

In 2016/17 a total of 81 people were made redundant. It was just 18 the following year (2017/18).

This cost the council £1,063,904 in  2016/17, compared with £438,764 in 2017/18.

Last year (2018/19) the council spent £514,869 on the pay-outs.

To put the lay-offs in context, the number of staff employed by the council in each year was: 2874 in 2017, 3072 in 2018 and 3295 in 2019.

All redundancies were voluntary

Council leader Councillor Tony Newman said that the council has to make hard choices when council finances are tighter than ever.

“We have had no compulsory redundancies. In a time where we have got ongoing cuts to the council budget – 65% over the last nine years- we are always looking at how we can do things more efficiently,” he said.

“Sometimes with new technology there are different ways we can do things.

“We will always look to make savings and one of the largest costs is staff.

“We are very keen that in the budget we’ve set will protect frontline services.”

He added that despite the pay-outs, voluntary redundancies save the council money in the long term.

But shadow cabinet member Councillor Jason Cummings said he was ‘disappointed’ to hear so  many staff members had gone.

“It is indicative of staff’s feelings about the council, we have seen a significant churn of the senior leadership team,” he said.

“Every time someone is made redundant we lose skills and knowledge and end up getting new people in without this.

“The main thing for me is, it is really disappointing to see experienced, long standing members of staff not then redeployed in other areas of the council to keep their expertise.”