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  • "
    thesquirrel wrote:
    Sorry, but unless someone can give me a good reason why the public sector need to employ their own architects and can't use the services of the private sector then, as a taxpayer, I think this has to be a good thing and should have been done a long time ago.
    I'm critical of the knee jerk reaction that assumes private is always better. Its not. I'm also a firm believer that well managed in-house services can be better than privatisation. I do however agree that there are some services that are better 'bought' in as and when needed. Architectural services is certainly one of them. Its equally difficult to imagine how Highway and Refuse services can be more efficiently run internally given the significant capital investment and economies of scale that are needed.

    My big concern locally is that the ruling administration at the City and County are in headlong rush to privatise as much as possible and without taking an objective long term view of in-house, multi- council, not for profit and private sector options.

    I note for instance Cllr Campion at the County gave the example of Labour controlled Sandwell as a good example of the benefits that can be obtained by 'outsourcing'. The reality is Sandwell, for a variety of reasons, has decided to end their contract with BT early and estimate they will save several £M per year by bringing services back in-house.

    The plain fact is that an in-house service doesn't have to generate profits and can be better tailored to meet changing local and individual needs. The big challenges are to ensure such services are well managed and efficient in meeting local needs."
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Council hands in-house architects jobs to private sector company

Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader

Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader

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

A STACK of architects jobs at Worcestershire County Council are being handed to a massive private sector company, it has emerged.

The cash-strapped authority has struck a deal with US-based Jacobs to take over the in-house professional design services team.

The service employs around 30 top-notch architects who help with construction-related matters for schools across Worcestershire, any other public sector bodies that need help and the council's own raft of buildings.

Under the agreement the firm will take on all the staff and employ them directly on the same terms and conditions, adding to its 8,000-strong UK workforce.

The deal, which has been in the making for weeks, comes after the council revealed it wanted to hive off 85 per cent of all services by 2018.

Your Worcester News understands Jacobs fought off competition from several other private sector firms to take the workers on.

It has a turnover of around £10 billion and already has lucrative contracts with central Government and dozens of other councils.

The contract between the two parties will be for an initial period of five years, with an option to extend it by two years subject to it going well.

Jacobs will offer the council expertise for any building programmes, such as new schools, as well as property survey work and professional design input.

A new report on the move says the deal avoids any "potential redundancy costs" that were in the offing had no interest been shown.

It also says it will "improve the long term employment prospects" for the staff transferred over, who will be able to access more clients.

The council says the potential savings made are impossible to quantify because the design unit charges fees for the work it completes, which varies year to year.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader, said: "I'm delighted we now have a preferred bidder on board - on we go with the process."

Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for transformation and commissioning, said: "We have a very good property services team which has supported this council for a very long time."

The contract is set to start from September.

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