Cornwall Council is planning to privatise or outsource all of its services to a private company. This is known as ‘shared services’. One of the companies in the frame is BT. A new company will be formed with one person on the board to represent the council. This will not be an elected member but well-paid Chief Executive Kevin Lavery. Rumour has it that Lavery has been linked to both BT and the other companies in the frame for the takeover.
Some of the areas involved include public health, libraries and One Stop Shops (including the administration of housing benefit for example). The council say this could mean up to 1000 job losses and others could be invited to re-apply for their jobs on worse conditions.
Cornwall Council now says it needs to find £30million ‘savings’ (cuts) for 2013/14.
Not only is this devastating for the workers that lose their jobs, it will also be a blow for the users that will find they have a poorer quality of service as the new company cuts corners, pay, conditions and services.
Moreover there has been a flagrant disregard of democracy in the way this has been carried out. The council cabinet of Tories and independents pushed this through at a cabinet meeting. A subsequent meeting of the full council voted by a clear majority to overturn this decision. The cabinet have subsequently stated that they have the power to go ahead without the backing of full council and will not be backing down.
These plans are devastating for Cornwall and will hit workers and users alike. It is also a shocking indictment of a council leadership that has no respect for democracy or the wishes of ordinary people. They must be defeated.
Come to our public meeting to hear more about this and to discuss how to stop it.