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Councillors vote for reduced plan to privatise services

By RWhitehouse  |  Posted: December 11, 2012

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CORNWALL Council has voted in favour of creating a partnership with a private firm but to have a number of key services removed from any proposals.

Councillors have been debating this morning the proposals to create a Joint Venture (JV) partnership to provide services such as libraries, IT, procurement and payroll.

This morning the council dismissed plans for a thick JV with BT but this afternoon a proposal to keep services in house was also dismissed.

After a long debate the council agreed that a "light" JV should be progressed with services including libraries, one stop shops, face to face customer services and procurement removed from any proposal.

Under the agreed option the council would still look to enter into the partnership alongside health organisations so that services such as telehealth could be provided by the new venture.

The original plans were surrounded in controversy with councillors concerned about losing control of key services and concerns over claims that the JV would result in millions of pounds of savings and create hundreds of new jobs.

After a key vote earlier this year on the subject when councillors indicated that they would like the proposal to be reconsidered council leader Alec Robertson faced a vote of no confidence when he said that his Cabinet would press ahead with the plans anyway.

He was removed from his post and replaced by Jim Currie who appointed a new Cabinet.

Mr Currie said at this morning's meeting that no matter the decision made by the council it was important that a firm decision was made on which direction the council will take and that the option selected was given support by all councillors.

Councillors were presented with a number of options and David Biggs, who has chaired a single issue panel looking at the subject, said that there was a clear choice between keeping the services in house, going ahead with the proposed JV with BT or setting up a slimmed down JV.

Council chief executive Kevin Lavery told the council that any decision to move to an alternative plan would require a lot more work by the council and that further talks would be required with the health partners to find out if they would be willing to remain involved.

It is not known whether BT would also still be interested in getting involved with the "slimmed down" version of the JV.

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  • rsurfin  |  December 13 2012, 10:14AM

    This entire process has been a scripted and orchestrated scam from the beginning. Lavery and his team, the executive elephants in the council, have blatant conflicts of interest. It does not require much imagination to put certain councillors in the same category as they scramble to jump on the gravy train. BT does not run a financially sound and well organised business because they do not have to. There is still no real competition in the telecoms market even though BT was sold on a promise of more competition equates to better service and better prices. As with all utilities prices have never been so outrageously high and the process never more complicated. When not being monopolistic BT operates in cartels. BT originally a state monopoly but sold under our noses for no where near the true value is now owned and controlled by a few including foreign investors. BT can be sold to the highest foreign bidder at any time. Privatisation has been a big scam with the only objective of transferring national assets to the few and if you look you will note the majority of these companies are now foreign owned or registered in tax havens. Regardless accountability is eroded to insignificance. The preverbal national silver has been sold and now the vultures hover around services. Cornwall ratepayers, many of them in fuel and communications poverty will be paying a proportion of wealthy professional footballers wages as BT is paying £738m for 114 premier league games at £6.5m a match. Roughly a third of the £2.5bn BT is spending to upgrade its creaking copper network. See http://tinyurl.com/cz67vr9 A classic example of how distorted and perverse this free market capitalist system has become. There are many more examples. I hope Lavery and his elephants, and the councillors who have sold their souls enjoy their VIP match tickets at our expense. Cornwall Council have voted on a plan that has no details and goes against informed advice. These people are selling us down the river to a land of servitude. Contrary to the rhetoric spewed out, its one big scam with dire consequences for the average person.

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  • ackedoff  |  December 12 2012, 9:12PM

    Blimey H that took you nearly two days to find that example........your slipping! The simple fact is that the vote counts against this venture were overwhelming compared to those for it, and this was with ALL the facts as requested at the previous full council meeting. Surely even you must be able to see that if LOTS of people with full knowledge of the facts of a proposal choose to vote AGAINST it then they have done so becouse the proposal is clearly flawed There is no imaginary leftist plot to plunge Cornwall into a financial pit of depression, manipulate a situation where CC employees are laid off left right and centre, its just ordinary people looking at a proposal, considering all the presented facts and thinking........thats not a good idea I'm not going to vote for it. As you seem so obsessed with trying to promote the JV, ridicule any dissenting voices against it I'm beginning to think that your either Mr Lavery in cognito or some one very close to the project, perhaps a BT employee........failing that it could be that you just like having a bit of a grumble eh?..........

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  • gfa_uk  |  December 12 2012, 8:40PM

    May I suggest that readers view this article please? http://tinyurl.com/cgjawzz or perhaps this one http://tinyurl.com/cuay6w2

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  December 12 2012, 6:35PM

    one for all at the arm chair doommongers ''Alan Holt, Partnership Director at South Tyneside Council, says: "Two years in, the partnership has met or exceeded all service delivery and outcome focused targets. Despite the recession, job creation is now ahead of schedule, the business centre is under construction, and savings are being delivered as promised. Satisfaction among our transferred staff remains high." source http://tinyurl.com/cn8esnh {under the case study link} see also http://tinyurl.com/bpcsk9k t has delivered: 600 new jobs, many of which have been secured by young residents and people who were previously unemployed; increased efficiency of council services by joining forces with a private sector partner; the first steps in a riverside renaissance as the partnership's moved into a £10.5million business centre, One Harton Staithes which will soon be surrounded by a magnificent waterfront park, connecting with South Shields town centre and providing a setting for restaurants and cafes; plans for a 400 home neighbourhood, while a new centre for new and growing businesses in the green energy sector is almost complete; and a guarantee from BT of 750 quality jobs over the life of the contract which will be contributed to by actively pursuing new business from other parts of the country including ICT, human resources, customer services and procurement services to other public sector bodies seeking efficiencies.

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  • josdave  |  December 12 2012, 11:20AM

    Privatisation will inevitably lead, as it has in all other examples of this Tory dogma, to poorer services and job losses. That's fine if you don't care about the public or people being out of work but it's not the way to run a council. We pay them to provide the services via council mworkers and they are negating their responsibility by doing this.

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  • Turnerscrafts Ltd  |  December 12 2012, 10:48AM

    @ cheekyman_jr You cannot lay the blame for the joint venture at the door of the lib dems, it was a Tory and independent lead proposal, with the chief exec leading the way. The days of moaning about the Unitary council are over, It has been here for a number of years now. It is a tory and Independent led council, together with prompting for the gullible by the chief exec that has led us up the path of the joint venture, firstly led by Robertson, and now with Ferguson and Curry, with the majority of independents in tow. Joint ventures do not work, we all know this, as the private company is only interested in the profits it can turn and the bigger dividend for its shareholders. This going to cost the cornish council taxpayer a mint in years to come for this folly. I suppose when it does come back and bite us in the ass you are going to blame te lib dems for that as well

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  December 12 2012, 9:00AM

    The whole point of becoming a Unitary Council was to protect these services...what's happened? Other than stinking LibDem lies that the gullible believed (shame on you all). I think serious questions need to be answered on this total and utter balls up. A sad day in Cornwall.

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  • JJLee  |  December 12 2012, 8:22AM

    "My prediction is they make a balls up of it." I suspect this is a truth, let's hope the contract does not see us paying for this at the expense of real services when it melts around them, please build in a get out of jail free card.

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  • ackedoff  |  December 11 2012, 9:00PM

    H, how misinformed you are, I'm aware that more than 1 or 2 have left due to stress. There are large numbers of employees off or suffering with work related stress becouse they have been subjected to constant change (some directorates going through 3-4 structural changes in as many years) poor communication and consultation from senior managers about key issues including this, several years of living with the fear of redundency, poor management standards, over work due to some support areas being cut to the bone, moral is at an all time low and has been since the change to Unitary The point is its not just down to the JV.......far from it. The JV is just the icing on a very foul tasting cake that CC employees have been fed for a very long time Friends of mine put a figure of £7 to £8.5 million a year lost through sickness absence, a good portion of which would be down to stress I'm sure and a FOI request would confirm..........true or not thats £7 to £8.5 million of tax payers money.......possible area of savings??

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  • shagrats  |  December 11 2012, 9:00PM

    Mark my words !!! Joint Ventures will not work !. We have all debated the ins and outs of why they are wrong for complicated council services on here for months so there is nothing new from me tonight about this. I am a bit dubious that this "JV light" is actually a veiled way of getting rid of the dross that BT would never run for a profit and therfore giving them the bits that would make money.. I would love to see BT just take on one thing and try to run that, say like this medic-call that seems to be the poster boy of shared services in Cornwall. Let them do it for a couple of years and if they manage to hit all the targets give them something else ect.. ect... My prediction is they make a balls up of it, so we get to see the real deal without to much long term damage to our services being done. this would also shut up the vocal " we are all doomed without BT" brigade. That would be my version of JV light.

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