At least 28 jobs will go following the axing of government financial support for a policy body representing West Midlands councils.
More than half of staff running the Leaders’ Board have been told they will be made redundant as the organisation winds down.
Leaders of the region’s 33 councils took the decision at a special meeting earlier this week.
They ordered job cuts after Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles removed budgets from council leaders’ boards across the country.
His decision to end a £2 million grant has left the West Midlands board with little income and an uncertain future.
It has emerged, however, that the board could continue in a vastly slimmed down form, although it won’t have any formal powers.
Council leaders said they still want an organisation capable of drawing together local authorities to consider the “big issues facing the region”.
They ordered staff to urgently draw up a business plan showing how a slimmed-down body might operate.
The board’s main purpose in life was to draw up the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) setting housing targets, but Mr Pickles abolished the RSS and told councils to set their own new-build figures. It also scrutinised the activities of regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, another body set to be abolished by the government.
West Midlands Leaders’ Board acting chairman, Roger Phillips believes it is essential for the region to have a local government mouthpiece.
Coun Phillips, the leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “For the past 50 years councils have been working together and there has never been a greater need for local government to take collective action and provide clear and decisive leadership – no one else will be minded to speak up for us.
“The West Midlands has been hit harder than almost any other part of the country by the recession and we are all very clear about our priorities and the need to work together to deliver the services people need in their local communities.
“However the way we do this clearly needs to change. Developing more effective sub-regions and clusters of local authorities, irrespective of party politics, has to be the way forward.
“Further work will now need to be done to develop the new, smaller staff structure within the confines of significant local authority and wider public sector budget cuts. Our concern at this time is for the highly skilled and dedicated staff who will inevitably be affected by this decision.”
The new chairman of the Leaders’ Board will be Philip Atkins, the leader of Staffordshire County Council.