Councillors get training to deal with handovers

All change at County Hall

All change at County Hall

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

COUNCILLORS in Worcestershire are going to be handed "commercial" training as more services get handed to the private sector.

Your Worcester News can reveal how Worcestershire County Council wants all 57 of its elected politicians to be extensively briefed on how to get the most from any new deals with private companies.

The training, which is taking place at the end of June, comes as the council plans to hand over 85 per cent of services to new providers by 2018.

Under the tactic, known as commissioning, outside organisations are being invited to 'bid' for services and departments.

We can also reveal:

- The council wants to sit councillors down every six weeks for the rest of 2014 to update them on the plans

- The website will be beefed up so it provides the public with extra details on how the process works, the services at risk and what commissioning is about

- It will include a timetable for each service or function, the stage of the process each one is at, and how the public can get involved in any consultations

- A strict set of rules around managing contracts is being developed in-house in the expectation that dozens of deals will be agreed over the coming months

The agreement to provide "commercial" training at County Hall follows some concern councillors will find it difficult to adapt to the rapid pace of change.

That led to a piece of work from Councillor Kit Taylor, a backbench Conservative, who was tasked with leading an in-house investigation into how much involvement they should have.

His requests have been accepted by the Conservative cabinet, which met on Tuesday.

Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for commissioning and transformation, said: "What this does show is the need for a different approach from members of the council."

Under the plan, commissioning will not only include the private sector but the likes of voluntary groups, not-for-profit bodies and charities.

Unison, the main union for the workforce, is hoping co-operatives can be set up by staff to help safeguard as many jobs as possible.

Around 1,500 in-house roles will be axed by 2018 under the blueprint, with the hope as many jobs as possible can be transferred over.

Comments (5)

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6:30pm Thu 12 Jun 14

CJH says...

"...some concern councillors will find it difficult to adapt to the rapid pace of change." What about those don't WANT to change?
"...some concern councillors will find it difficult to adapt to the rapid pace of change." What about those don't WANT to change? CJH
  • Score: 3

9:55pm Thu 12 Jun 14

DarrenM says...

I don't know but I'm going to hazard a guess that Councillors are more likely to be experienced in something called "work" and "value for money" that seems to be prevalent in the private sector, unlike at County Hall, and if perhaps they'd trained their own staff in those competencies there wouldn't be a need for outsourcing?
I don't know but I'm going to hazard a guess that Councillors are more likely to be experienced in something called "work" and "value for money" that seems to be prevalent in the private sector, unlike at County Hall, and if perhaps they'd trained their own staff in those competencies there wouldn't be a need for outsourcing? DarrenM
  • Score: 0

10:51pm Thu 12 Jun 14

Gillian1961 says...

I did not have my glasses on thought it said HANGOVER
I did not have my glasses on thought it said HANGOVER Gillian1961
  • Score: 0

9:16am Fri 13 Jun 14

Rita Jelfs says...

DarrenM wrote:
I don't know but I'm going to hazard a guess that Councillors are more likely to be experienced in something called "work" and "value for money" that seems to be prevalent in the private sector, unlike at County Hall, and if perhaps they'd trained their own staff in those competencies there wouldn't be a need for outsourcing?
'Work and 'value for money' is only prevalent in the private sector where there's a competitive market for these services. 'Time will tell' if changing a government monopoly (of providing County Hall services) into a private monopoly, without competition, results in suboptimal value for money, as classic economic theory teaches. At any rate, it will allow County Hall to transfer blame for poor services.
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: I don't know but I'm going to hazard a guess that Councillors are more likely to be experienced in something called "work" and "value for money" that seems to be prevalent in the private sector, unlike at County Hall, and if perhaps they'd trained their own staff in those competencies there wouldn't be a need for outsourcing?[/p][/quote]'Work and 'value for money' is only prevalent in the private sector where there's a competitive market for these services. 'Time will tell' if changing a government monopoly (of providing County Hall services) into a private monopoly, without competition, results in suboptimal value for money, as classic economic theory teaches. At any rate, it will allow County Hall to transfer blame for poor services. Rita Jelfs
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Sat 14 Jun 14

3thinker says...

DarrenM wrote:
I don't know but I'm going to hazard a guess that Councillors are more likely to be experienced in something called "work" and "value for money" that seems to be prevalent in the private sector, unlike at County Hall, and if perhaps they'd trained their own staff in those competencies there wouldn't be a need for outsourcing?
Darren makes a very valid point. If council services are well managed (and there are no major benefits from significant capital investment and economies of scale) there is absolutely no reason why they need to be outsourced.

For many, but not all services it would be better to look at either keeping services in-house, combining them with other councils or looking to set them up as not for profit organisations before selling them off to the private sector.

Another private sector method for lowering cost, spreading overheads and improving efficiency and service quality is to rationalise, integrate and generate economies of scale. The quickest and simplest way of doing this is being avoided by our elected members at District and County level and that is to merge all the Districts and County to form a single Unitary Council for Worcestershire.
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: I don't know but I'm going to hazard a guess that Councillors are more likely to be experienced in something called "work" and "value for money" that seems to be prevalent in the private sector, unlike at County Hall, and if perhaps they'd trained their own staff in those competencies there wouldn't be a need for outsourcing?[/p][/quote]Darren makes a very valid point. If council services are well managed (and there are no major benefits from significant capital investment and economies of scale) there is absolutely no reason why they need to be outsourced. For many, but not all services it would be better to look at either keeping services in-house, combining them with other councils or looking to set them up as not for profit organisations before selling them off to the private sector. Another private sector method for lowering cost, spreading overheads and improving efficiency and service quality is to rationalise, integrate and generate economies of scale. The quickest and simplest way of doing this is being avoided by our elected members at District and County level and that is to merge all the Districts and County to form a single Unitary Council for Worcestershire. 3thinker
  • Score: 0

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