Council considers private partners

Local elections 2010.'Council Leader Peter Box.'w1820s019
Local elections 2010.'Council Leader Peter Box.'w1820s019

COUNCIL bosses are considering teaming up with private sector businesses to share services and save cash.

Wakefield Council cabinet members will consider proposals at a meeting next week to go into partnership with private sector firms to share the cost of services.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Peter Box, leader of the council, said forging business partnerships would provide more jobs for people in the district and generate income for the council, as it would be able to sell services to neighbouring local authorities.

He said: “There will potentially be less people working directly for the local authority but within the district, we’re retaining jobs.

“If we didn’t do this, the chances are there would be less services which means fewer jobs in the district.

“The council is making steps to save jobs in the district – we’re about retaining jobs and retaining services.”

The move comes as the council looks to make budget savings of £67m by 2015.

The report to cabinet next Tuesday (October 18) suggests a number of options, including expanding an existing partnership with Norfolk Property Services (NPS), which could take on £25m worth of services such as school meals, cleaning, building maintenance, property services and catering.

The report also suggests a new partnership with a private sector firm to provide £40m worth of back office support such as revenues and benefits, human resources and legal services.

Coun Box said: “We will still provide high quality services but, in some cases, in a different way. We are not looking to outsource our services.

“We are the biggest provider of public services in the district and will continue to be responsible for those services, even if some of them are provided in a different way in the future.”

The authority has already begun to work with community groups to transfer services and Featherstone Town Council has already taken over responsibility for the town’s market. Services which will remain in council control include highways, trading standards and refuse collections.