Council Services For Sale
Monday’s Cornwall Council Cabinet was going to be a day that would put the council firmly on the
Shared Services privatisation path. On the table were many of the council services, like the One Stop Shops and Libraries which are set to be run by a private company. The sheer scale of the sell-off is staggering.
A Scrutiny Single Issue Panel (SIP) was set up to look into this proposal. To the SIP’s credit, they did a great job in highlighting the many dangers and unknowns Cornwall Council would face if it went down this path. Even the Chairman of the council’s Audit Committee, and known Leadership loyalist said, “There is a major risk in this venture.” You have to ask yourself, is it right the Cabinet is taking a massive gamble with tax-payers money? Councillor Biggs, and co-chair of the SIP, said in his report: “This venture is a Leap of Faith.”
Most damning of all the debate was Councillor Currie’s comments. When the Councillor responsible for resources (the money) say’s he was not fully consulted in these proposals. That should stop the process in its tracks, It is like someone running into a brick wall. In fact Councillor Currie did a fantastic rearguard action to stop the process.
The best line (for the wrong reasons) was the Leader’s in responding to those who had concerns with the plans. He said: “if you do not like the option you have the option to abstain.” Abstain? Unless the council’s constitution had been changed, a Councillor can vote against something, not just abstain!
Unsurprisingly, the Cabinet voted to process with the plans for Shared Services. Only Councillor Kaczmarek voted against, with Councillor Currie abstaining.
I guess time will tell if this Leap of Faith actually works. If not, the tax-payer will be left to pick up the bill when the private company walks away with all the money.