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Staffordshire councillor says 'Support service solution won't be held up'

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: November 17, 2012

Ian Parry

Comments (5)

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.

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  • Staf Newsletter  |  December 13 2012, 1:49PM

    This is teh same authority who gave us the scoffold encrusted Staffordshire Place buildings complete with vacant shops and promised us it would revitalise the town centre. Now they get into bed with Capita who will take staff away from the town centre. Does this council have any clue what they're doing?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 29 2012, 3:01PM

    ASPE are independant and well respected and if they have concerns caution should be taken before proceeding with this unecessary haste. Schools and staff sold out for 50 million.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 17 2012, 7:50PM

    This report was commisionef by a TRADE UNION. To refer to it as independant is laughable. Even though an external organisation wrote it, anyone like me who commisions such things knows the 'thrust' is always agreed in advance. Its a case if the hand that feeds you. Hope most readers know this too.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 17 2012, 7:07PM

    From public transport to power - private companies fleece us. From ground maintenace to child care - private companies fail us. The public know this yet elected members continue to wed themselves to the private sector. Who now does not know that the result will be a worse service at greater cost?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 17 2012, 10:20AM

    You can find out more about this on UNISON's Facebook page www.facebook.com/theknotunties