Mark Whitehead 20 February 2015

Northamptonshire to outsource all services and save £68m

Northamptonshire County Council has rubber stamped plans to outsource all services and make £68m of cuts.

It will move away from delivering services directly to a ‘Next Generation Model’ where an expert core council will commission specialist social enterprises to provide them instead.

The Tory-run council said it will 'explore how services currently run directly by the council can become separate stand-alone organisations free from statutory restraints and deliver services aimed at the twin aims of safeguarding the county’s most vulnerable and creating greater wellbeing in the county'.

A plan was approved to move the vast majority of the council's 4,000 staff to four new bodies - leaving just 150 employed by the authority.

The new bodies will be for child protection, care of vulnerable adults, providing health and well-being services, and improving the county.

Councillors agreed to raise council tax by 1.95%. Northamptonshire remains the lowest taxing county council in the country.

Council leader, Cllr Jim Harker, said: 'The traditional model of local government not only no longer works financially but also doesn’t meet the needs of citizens any more.

'We are serving people with a totally new set of expectations about how they receive goods and services with an expectation of greater individual choice and more responsiveness.

'Our Next Generation Model will not only help rise to these expectations but do so in a way which is affordable.

'It is certainly no exaggeration to say that this is the biggest transformation of services in Northamptonshire since the creation of this council 125 years ago.'

Budget report figures showed the cost of providing services would be expected to rise by £104m over the next five years, while money received from government will fall by £79m.

Councillors agreed to efficiency savings including £1m less on promoting the county's economy, £7m less on waste management, a reduction of £750,000 in the fire service budget and saving £4m reviewing looked-after children placed outside the county.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Bill Parker said: 'As well as these larger organisations the message is clear that other services would also be able to form new enterprises either as private businesses, social enterprises, charities or as part of the voluntary sector.

'They would all be free to win other contracts to generate additional income to help reduce their costs to the council.'

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