CHANGES to Torfaen’s library services will see the council pay out nearly £240,000 in redundancy costs.

Cuts of £200,000 have been proposed as part of a borough-wide shakeup which would see the use of self-service machines for book loans prioritised to protect frontline services.

The move involves a reduction in staff numbers from 33 to 28, with three compulsory redundancies, the removal of two vacant posts and a ‘regrading’ of existing posts.

A council report reveals the cost of the three compulsory redundancies to be £124,543, with an estimated £113,868 shortfall in pension funding.

As many as 15 redundancies were considered by the council as part of the 2017/18 budget saving proposals approved in March 2016.

The costs will be paid for through the council’s corporate redundancy reserve, with the council expecting full savings to be achieved by 2019/2020.

According to the report, which will go before council leader Cllr Anthony Hunt next week, no objections were raised by staff or trade unions during a month-long consultation.

“A number of comments were received from one member of staff, seeking clarification on her revised job description,” the report says.

“Following clarification, the staff member is now happy with the proposals. Therefore, no major issues arose during the consultation period that would affect the proposed reconfiguration being implemented.”

Torfaen’s three libraries in Pontypool, Cwmbran and Blaenavon will stay open but members of the public are expected to use self-service machines on certain days when staff are unavailable.

Other ‘low level services’ such as DVD and e-magazine loans could also be removed with ‘little impact on customers, a previous report said.

Blaenavon Library is currently the only library to already have self-service machines, with the council planning to spend £50,000 to install the technology at Pontypool and Cwmbran.

The report says: “The new structure is designed to ensure continued successful delivery of the wide range of services, which customers and residents regard as important from their library service."

Cllr Hunt is expected to sign off on the redundancy costs of £238,412 on October 15.