William Eichler 08 February 2017

Welsh council to ‘throw out’ outsourcing plans

Pembrokeshire County Council looks set to ‘throw out’ plans to outsource local leisure services to a charitable trust, union says.

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee met last week and recommended the council retain the area’s leisure services within the council.

The London-based, private consultant Winckworth Sherwood had recommended outsourcing libraries, leisure centres, sports pitches, museums, archives and arts development, to a charitable trust in order to save money.

However, Pembrokeshire CC’s scrutiny committee concluded after taking into account the governance, financial and procurement review, that the setting up of a trust was not a ‘viable’ option.

The council’s cabinet will make their final decision next Monday.

Public sector union Unison, which had campaigned against outsourcing council facilities, welcomed the decision.

‘Every step of the way, we said to the council, we know the pressures you are under because of severe UK Conservative cuts but outsourcing would deliver only short term savings and it would be calamitous for all those local services we all hold dear,’ said branch secretary Janet Wyer.

‘If local services are under pressure, councils should work with staff and trades unions to find a solution.’

Ms Wyer also criticised the use of private consultants in deciding the future of public services.

‘There is no place for private consultants advising councils to cut or outsource services,’ she said.

‘We know they deliberately paint a desperate picture of the council’s future in order to secure further work.

‘Outsourcing would have failed the people of Pembrokeshire and local services are always best delivered by staff directly employed by the council.’

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