Councillors vote for reduced plan to privatise services
CORNWALL Council has voted in favour of creating a partnership with a private firm but to have a number of key services removed from any proposals.
Councillors have been debating this morning the proposals to create a Joint Venture (JV) partnership to provide services such as libraries, IT, procurement and payroll.
This morning the council dismissed plans for a thick JV with BT but this afternoon a proposal to keep services in house was also dismissed.
After a long debate the council agreed that a "light" JV should be progressed with services including libraries, one stop shops, face to face customer services and procurement removed from any proposal.
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Under the agreed option the council would still look to enter into the partnership alongside health organisations so that services such as telehealth could be provided by the new venture.
The original plans were surrounded in controversy with councillors concerned about losing control of key services and concerns over claims that the JV would result in millions of pounds of savings and create hundreds of new jobs.
After a key vote earlier this year on the subject when councillors indicated that they would like the proposal to be reconsidered council leader Alec Robertson faced a vote of no confidence when he said that his Cabinet would press ahead with the plans anyway.
He was removed from his post and replaced by Jim Currie who appointed a new Cabinet.
Mr Currie said at this morning's meeting that no matter the decision made by the council it was important that a firm decision was made on which direction the council will take and that the option selected was given support by all councillors.
Councillors were presented with a number of options and David Biggs, who has chaired a single issue panel looking at the subject, said that there was a clear choice between keeping the services in house, going ahead with the proposed JV with BT or setting up a slimmed down JV.
Council chief executive Kevin Lavery told the council that any decision to move to an alternative plan would require a lot more work by the council and that further talks would be required with the health partners to find out if they would be willing to remain involved.
It is not known whether BT would also still be interested in getting involved with the "slimmed down" version of the JV.