Concern over the outsourcing of council services

Portsmouth MP flies out to storm-hit islands on first trip as development secretary

0
Have your say

FEARS have been raised about plans to privatise some council services and team up with other local authorities almost 100 miles away to save cash.

Havant Borough Council has begun a consultation on whether it should outsource its administration, facilities management, licensing and property management.

Capita already handles the council’s revenues and benefits and customer services but that contract is up for renewal in 2017.

Councillor Mike Fairhurst, responsible for marketing and development, hopes ‘substantial’ savings can be made with a new contract.

Cllr Fairhurst said he could not rule out job losses, saying it would be up to the contractor, but claimed it could in fact lead to more jobs if Havant is made a central hub for all five councils.

The four other councils involved in the potential new contract are Hart District Council, Mendip District Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council.

At a recent council meeting Labour’s Cllr Beryl Francis said: ‘Why are we going with these councils rather than working with our Solent partners? It may completely alter the way our council works if all our finances are managed by outside firms.

‘Has local democracy been thrown out of the window?’

Cllr Fairhurst responded: ‘I don’t think there was any difference when we got Capita delivering these services.

‘I’m depressed that once again we have somebody questioning whether the private sector can deliver services as well as we can.

‘It’s nonsense to suggest the private sector can’t deliver as good a service as we can.’

About partnering with authorities not in the Solent area he said: ‘It’s a matter of timing. We already had these services out to the private sector and we are all getting these contracts being renewed at the same time.’

Speaking to The News he added: ’I can’t stress enough how innovative this is.

‘It’s an example of how we will look at any good way of saving money.’

Residents can have their say on the proposals at 
bit.ly/1z5q1vK.