UNION bosses have accused Staffordshire County Council of selling off the family silver to fill a black hole in the budget.
Unison’s Staffordshire branch secretary Steve Elsey said he feared staff would have their terms and conditions changed after the authority unveiled Capita as their partner in a new joint venture this week, saying the FTSE company had offered more money.
Councillor Ian Parry, cabinet member for education, finance and transformation, said the authority would receive £50 million over the 10-year contract to provide educational support services.
Most of it would be paid in the first three years and he said the company would also make an additional payment of nearly £32 million.
This would shore up the council’s medium-term financial strategy MTFS.
Last year the authority said it had to save £120 million over three years.
The council will have a 49 per cent stake in the business with Capita’s stake a controlling 51 per cent.
Councillor Parry said the deal would create 1,613 additional jobs on top of the nearly 4,000 staff transferring into the joint venture.
“It was the best deal. We felt they were more aligned to our values around education. The level of investments underlined their commitment to delivering better services for schools. The financial offer they made was a better one.
“We think this is an outstanding deal for the county council and it’s good for schools and Staffordshire.” He said there would be an option to sell the council’s shares after a five-year lock-in period.
“It’s quite an attractive option to exit the company.
There will be a further capital receipt.” Mr Elsey said: “It’s selling off the family silver to fill the black hole.
“No matter what’s said, when it comes to keeping shareholders happy if they don’t meet the astonishingly optimistic rates of growth how will they meet the profits of the shareholders?
“They will come after staff terms and conditions to opt out of delivering some services.”
The business case for the joint venture said the Capita bid more than outweighed any costs associated with the joint venture.
“To have that level of certainty about funding potential MTFS liabilities gives the county council real confidence that this proposal is in the best interests of the council tax payers of Staffordshire.” The joint venture is expected to be approved by the authority’s cabinet on Wednesday.