SCHOOL union representatives in Staffordshire say the county council is “privatising” education with a £2 billion contract over 10 years.
Staffordshire County Council has moved a step nearer transferring 5,000 jobs to the private sector by advertising the tender for services in this county - and potentially two others.
It will be responsible for services includ- ing school catering, grounds maintenance, teacher training and music tuition.
The council says it is not privatisation but an entry on Unison’s Twitter account said: “SCC say school support not out- sourcing or privatisation - staff will move to private employer - err that’s privatisation.”
The advertisement said SCC was leading
the procurement with a view to offering the benefit of the contract to Shropshire Council and/or Worcestershire County Council.
County councillor Ian Parry, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and transformation, said: “This is not about outsourcing or privatisation, it is about taking decisive action to safeguard jobs and strengthen the services offered to schools.
"Our priority is providing schools and the young people of Staffordshire the best possible education. To do this, schools need to be able to access the best support possible.
“If we do nothing, these services will be gradually reduced and become unviable. By seeking investment, we’re taking deci- sive action to safeguard them.”
Steve Elsey, Unison’s Staffordshire branch secretary, said: “Our main con- cerns are for the quality of services provided to the young people of
Staffordshire and their parents and families; the motives of the people delivering those services being moved from wanting the best for those people to wanting to make a profit out of the people of Staffordshire.
“Moving the staff out of Staffordshire is potentially a real concern to us. Effectively you have a group of 5,000 staff who are currently public sector employees.
If you move them to a private sector company how is that not privatisation.
If you have an ICT engineer working in Staffordshire they could end up covering the whole of the Midlands.”