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Council defends ‘contracting out’
ORGANISATIONS in Worcestershire stand to benefit the most from controversial plans to farm out council services, bosses have said.
The county council says it will make every effort to ensure it carries on spending most of its cash locally after figures revealed 77 per cent of the authority’s £330 million yearly spend stays in Worcestershire.
County Hall has plans to shrink 40 per cent by 2017 by handing over services to external providers.
It says most contracts up for grabs will be handed to county organisations, keeping as much cash as possible in Worces- tershire.
The move, as your Worcester News first reported in January, includes 650 new job losses on top of the 856 already being scrapped. Councillor Adrian Hardman, speaking during a meeting of the Conservative cabinet, said: “We are looking to reduce our spend by around £20 million a year, partly as a result of increasing demands on certain services and partly because we’re expecting to receive less funding from central Government.
“Work is well underway to plan ahead for the future years in many areas, including reducing our assets and partnership working.”
A new report, which was backed by the cabinet, says “local suppliers” will also be encouraged to take on more work so less of it is done in-house. Bosses also want to make better use of the authority’s internet site, so more people use it to access services, rather than ringing up or writing in.
They believe many of the 650 jobs lost due to the ‘commissioning’ process can be tak- en over and provided by whichever organisations take on services.
The hope is that by transferring staff over to new providers, less people will end up on the scrapheap.
Coun David Thain, the cabinet member for transformation and change, said: “The important thing this demonstrates is that we are fiscally responsible, which means we have not needed to put up council tax this year.
“We are proud of our financial approach.”