Fear raised jobs could go over £50m contract

Havant councillor Mike Fairhurst
Havant councillor Mike Fairhurst
  • Council has struck deal with four other local authorities to outsource HR, IT, finance and property service
  • They say it could save £50m
  • But there are fears over redundancies
  • Councillors say the do not need privatisation
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THERE are fears of redundancies as a council is poised to sign a contract with five other councils which could save £50m.

Havant Borough Council is outsourcing HR, IT, finance, facilities management and property services.

There is huge uncertainty among the staff and morale is really difficult

Faith Ponsonby

It has joined up with Hart District Council, Mendip District Council, in Somerset, South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils in Oxfordshire, in a bid to make savings through shared contracts.

But some staff may have to move once the contracts come in with Capita and Vinci creating centres of excellence to run the services.

Ukip councillor John Perry said: ‘I’m against these services being privatised.

‘We could continue to operate as we are today without it having any impact. I really feel for the staff.

‘The opposition have not been allowed any part of negotiations and councillors do not actually understand it.’

Liberal Democrat Faith Ponsonby said opposition were excluded from negotiations, which were taken on by a small group of Conservative councillors.

She said: ‘There is huge uncertainty among the staff and morale is really difficult.

‘People are saying they’re not going to hang around if other jobs come up locally’.

The councils are due to sign on the dotted line on March 31 and they say it could save them, collectively, £50m over nine years.

Councillor Mike Fairhurst, who is in charge of marketing and development at Havant, said: ‘This is another significant step forward by Havant Borough Council, which, together with the recently announced joint venture with Norse, will go a very long way to ensuring our financial sustainability without the need for cutting our services or raising council tax.

‘By working with our like-minded partners we have managed to get far greater efficiencies than we would have achieved on our own, and I am sure other district and borough councils will be following in our footsteps pretty soon.’

Cllr Fairhurst said staff could be moved to ‘centres of excellence’ and added the councils and both companies will be providing support, advice and training to staff throughout the transition to the new contracts.