Wiltshire Council has initiated a recruitment freeze in a bid to save cash.

The council will now not fill vacant positions until March next year, when the policy will be reviewed. The move means that posts will remain unfilled rather than be made redundant.

Exceptions will be made in some cases for jobs in key areas, but staff will have to provide a business case to a Recruitment Approval Panel of three senior managers to persuade them of the necessity to hire someone.

Job vacancies currently being advertised or processed will be allowed to continue. The council needs to find savings of £32.6 million this financial year following budget cuts. It has 4,000 full time equivalent staff and expects to save £90,000 in recruiting costs from the move alone, but has not given a figure for how much it predicts it will save in wages.

A council spokesman said: “As part of Wiltshire Council’s drive to be more efficient and protect its front-line services, a recruitment freeze has been put in place. “This key action will ensure that where posts are critical to delivering services that support the council’s key priorities, such as protecting the most vulnerable and boosting the local economy, exceptions will be approved.”