EDUCATION chiefs are refusing to think again about privatising support services despite an independent report labelling the move high risk.
Unison commissioned the report by the Assocation for Public Service Excellence (APSE).
The report says the £4 billion plans should be postponed until the council has held a transparent options appraisal.
“The joint venture, as proposed in the business plan, contains, in APSE’s opinion, substantial flaws that imply serious avoidable risks to the council and the Staffordshire community,” it said.
“APSE considers the council’s legitimate and laudable objectives of good education, improved economic prospects and financial returns are endangered by the joint venture as proposed.”
Carillion and Capita are bidding to form the joint venture with the council to transfer 5,000 staff delivering services including special educational needs, performing arts, school catering, cleaning, caretaking and grounds maintenance.
Claire Breeze, Unison regional organiser, said: “Our worst fears have been confirmed by this independent APSE report which identifies this joint venture as a high-risk strategy that is being unjustifiably rushed through before the 2013 county council elections.”
The report says providing the current service provision would be preferable to this high-risk proposal.
Councillor Ian Parry has already said doing nothing is not an option.
Ms Breeze added: “Unison has consistently raised concerns regarding the real risks associated with this deal, the secrecy surrounding it and the council’s failure to consider more appropriate alternatives to this joint venture proposal.”
“Unison calls on Staffordshire County Council to suspend the process in favour of a published strategic options appraisal to reassure the community of Staffordshire that services are driven by quality and not by profit.”
Councillor Ian Parry, cabinet member for education, finance and transformation, said the report didn’t raise anything new.
“Our business case was independently scrutinised by KPMG and it speaks volumes that two of the biggest companies in the UK, Carillion and Capita, following their own thorough assessment of the business and the proposed model, are interested and excited enough to bid.
“We will not be pausing this process. We have full confidence in the business case and remain committed to deliver an innovative solution that will ultimately safeguard jobs.” The council’s cabinet will consider the plans next month.