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  • "
    Moltaire wrote:
    This is well overdue but is extremely welcome news.

    Ok, government cuts have meant that councils are having to make savings and that does mean that some staff will lose their jobs. But the flip side is that these decisions will see a sea-change in the way council workers go about their work in that they will now have to raise their game and work much harder to deliver the same levels of service when more people were employed and this is not a bad thing and will, at last, see a work ethic akin to the private sector. I regularly have meetings at county hall and often see staff currently doing very little work, being more interested in engaging in general chit chat, reading magazines and surfing the internet. Spending cuts will mean some services will be lost or reduced, but what is left will see greater productivity.

    But going one step further, the private sector taking over services will see great benefits, even better services, better productivity, more efficient and effective working practices, less waste and greater value for money and far better levels of competence and intelligence. Of course, there have been high profile examples where a private company has made errors and perhaps provided a worse service, but those numbers are minute compared to the poor services and constant errors that emanate from the council. We only have to look at the highways department for example, and with this example I'd support previous calls over the past few months for Worcester Bosch to take over this department.

    With Clare Marchant taking the top job soon, and with her private sector background, let us hope that she will make the decision to move council operations to the next level due these cuts and job losses and start outsourcing services to the private sector and charities. We will all see a marked improvement.
    What a load of rubbish. Coming to a meeting at County Hall does not give you a right to assume that because a few staff are talking or on the internet that everyone else is doing the same. You obviously have a problem with the county council in general probably related to why you are meeting council staff.
    Have you ever thought that the workers you see talking could have just come back from a child protection visit or even an adult protection investigation. I couldn't do their job and I doubt you could.
    There is some dead wood everyone knows that but there are also dedicated
    hard working people employed by the authority who have very difficult jobs and have to deal with situations most of us don't want to think about. Be very careful what you wish for as privatisation of all services will not make things better."
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Council slashes itself to pieces - County Hall set for its biggest structural change in history

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

First published in News
Last updated
Evesham Journal: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

AROUND 1,500 jobs are being axed and 85 per cent of Worcestershire County Council's services handed to new providers - as the biggest change in its entire history was given the nod.

Politicians yesterday voted to accept the most radical overhaul the council has ever seen, signalling the start of a huge four-year plan to cut £100 million and radically shrink the workforce.

It means: - The private sector will be invited to take over swathes of service areas, as well as other interested bodies like charities and voluntary groups

- By 2018 the council is aiming to have just 2,000 in-house staff of its own, with 85 per cent of services provided externally

- The massive cull of the workforce includes the £78,500 assistant chief executive role, which is being scrapped, as well as finance director Patrick Birch's job, which pays £128,000

- Scores of middle-ranking managerial jobs are also in line to go, but a new 'commercial and change' director will be appointed to get working on the transformation

The council hopes many of the staff implicated can be found jobs with the new employers, transferring their terms and conditions over, although it will be done on a case-by-case basis.

The controversial change, which is partly being driven by shrinking Government funding, was voted through at a tense full council meeting yesterday despite bitter opposition from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Green Party.

The new operating model will see only a few key areas remain in-house including social care and adults and children, support for businesses, and various environmental functions.

But almost everything else will up for grabs to the best bidders, with the council acting as a 'contract manager' to get the best deal.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader, said: "It's quite clear to us that the prolonged austerity is really starting to drive significant change in local government and Worcestershire is not immune to this.

"We've developed a new operating model for a new era - it's a council which will move forward with the times."

He said the changes signal the end of supplying services "in a directly controlled way", adding that given the finances it was "a sensible and rational thing to do".

Councillor John Campion, who sits in the Conservative cabinet, said it was a way of "making services carry on in our communities that would otherwise cease to exist".

But during the debate Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "The services we deliver, in the main, are ones the private sector doesn't because they can't afford to in their drive for profits.

"We would never accept this in a month of Sundays."

Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens all voted against it, but after Conservative backing it was accepted by 35 votes to 16.


WARNINGS are being made about the speed at which Worcestershire County Council is to shrink - amid fears the change is "too fast, too soon".

The Liberal Democrat group joined all the opposition parties in voting against the new operating model yesterday, saying they were in "depression" over it.

It came just after Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader, compared the county's possible plight to "Liverpool in the 80s", saying he wanted to avoid a situation where he did nothing and had to make people redundant.

The council hopes in-house workers can transfer their roles to any new providers, saving at least some of the impact on the economy.

Among those safe from the job cuts is the current assistant chief executive Clare Marchant, as despite her existing role being axed, she is taking over the top position from Trish Haines in two weeks.

Councillor Liz Tucker, Lib Dem group leader, said: "I think we are going too fast, too soon.

"Yes, we do need to change but we don't need this dogma that everything needs to be externalised."

Councillor Sue Askin, a fellow Lib Dem, said she has looked at the new structure "with a degree of depression", saying it was "too much, too soon" to be voted through.

But the Cllr Hardman said he had thought about it for a long time, saying any more delays in what they call 'commisioning' would be risky.

"There is a difference of opinion, which is not surprising as that's what politics is all about," he said.

"My view is that we are going about it at the right pace, we've spent a lot of time thinking about this issue, I believe it's a measured approach."

Around 750 staff were consulted over it and he said they were optimistic about it.

He said Liverpool Council made so many staff redundant in the 1980s they "sent redundancy notices out in taxis", something he would not preside over in Worcestershire.

A ll manner of solutions will be looked at for making savings, including the prospect of some "joint venture" organisations created with other bodies.

A report on the new model says the private sector will also have a role, as will the possible creation of new arms-length bodies to take services over.

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