AROUND 100 staff are set to leave their jobs at North Ayrshire Council, the Herald understands - as the authority advertises for two senior officials with a combined salary of more than £250,000.

The council has opened up its 'Voluntary Early Release' programme to applications from employees as it aims to save cash in the face of ever-tighter financial settlements from government.

The programme - which appears similar to voluntary redundancy, though the council has insisted it's different - allows staff to ask to leave the council, with a severance payment made to each employee in return for volunteering to leave.


The authority is also recruiting for two 'executive director' positions, each with an annual salary of £129,073.

One of these vacancies is for an existing job, while the successful candidate for the other will head up a new 'communities and housing directorate', with education set to become a department in its own right.

Under the previous structure, 'communities and education' comprised all services delivered by education, youth employment and 'Connected Communities'.

The new structure will see the housing team move from the 'place' directorate.

If both roles are filled it will see the number of executive director posts at the council rise from two to three.

The authority did have three executive directors until 13 months ago, but a vacancy created in November 2022 - and advertised - was never filled, and the council insists that neither of the senior jobs currently being advertised are "additional posts".

The council has also denied that the senior posts currently being advertised are related to the savings set to be made through the VER scheme, which was finalised earlier this month.

A council spokesperson told the Herald: “We initiated a voluntary early release (VER) programme to our employees earlier this year. This process is different to a voluntary redundancy programme.

“Voluntary early release is a process where employees can request to leave the council and a severance payment is made to the employee for volunteering to leave.

“Voluntary early release programmes have been run previously by many local authorities, including ourselves, and have mutual benefits for both the employee and the council.

"The process for this was finalised last week, and all employees who had applied were notified of our decision.

The spokesperson added: “The jobs advertised are not related to the VER scheme. Both of these roles are integral to our new chief officer and directorate structure as we continue look to deliver services which meet the needs of our communities.”