PERSONNEL changes are imminent at a Herefordshire Council department as the cash-strapped authority continues to cut running costs.

The council has to save £42 million by 2020 and is currently asking county taxpayers where the axe should fall as part of its ongoing budget consultation.

It has this week confirmed a "senior management re-structure" within the economy, communities and corporate directorate which will see the number of posts there reduced from six to four.

As a result of the changes, the assistant director governance, Bill Norman, has asked to take voluntary redundancy, which has been accepted.

Meanwhile, the council is on the lookout for a new assistant director safeguarding after Paul Meredith, the current postholder, announced he would be retiring early next year.

"The council is committed to reducing its internal running costs in light of substantial budget challenges whilst ensuring it continues to protect the county’s most vulnerable residents," said a council spokesperson.

"Due to a senior management re-structure within the economy, communities and corporate directorate, which will see six posts reduce to four, Bill Norman, [the] assistant director governance has requested to take voluntary redundancy, which has been accepted.

"Within the council’s children’s wellbeing directorate, Paul Meredith assistant director safeguarding and family support is retiring early next year and a replacement is currently being recruited."

Tomorrow (Friday) the council's employment panel will meet to discuss arrangements in light of Mr Norman's decision.

The panel will be asked to temporarily make the monitoring officer post come under the jurisdiction of deputy solicitor to the council for an interim period of up to nine months.

The authority has made almost £50 million of savings in the past five years but needs to cut a further £42 million by 2020.

As part of the council's ongoing budget consultation, which ends on October 9, county taxpayers are being asked whether they would back a council tax referendum asking taxpayers whether they would back a council tax rise of more than two per cent which would generate additional funds.

A similar referendum question last year received a negative response.

The public are also being asked to rank a list of priorities, which includes supporting the growth of the economy

and the number of people in work, enabling more residents to live a “safe, healthy and happy life”, and to keep children and young people safe and “give them a great start in life”.