Transfer of work to outside companies could save the council up to £1million

SHARING some back-office services, such as billing and settling invoices, with other organisations could release an extra £1million a year for social services or education, Cambridgeshire County Council believes. The council s cabinet yesterday (Tuesday

SHARING some "back-office" services, such as billing and settling invoices, with other organisations could release an extra £1million a year for social services or education, Cambridgeshire County Council believes.

The council's cabinet yesterday (Tuesday) agreed to start a three-month consultation with staff and trade unions about a possible transfer of work to private sector companies.

But it promised that no front-line services would be compromised and any staff transferred to a private sector employer would be fully protected.

There was definitely no plan to "off-shore" council services, a council spokesman insisted. Council leader, Councillor Keith Walters, has already given undertakings that the St Ives-based call centre would stay local.


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Cabinet member for corporate services, Councillor John Powley, said: "Our budget, like those in many local authorities across the country, is under severe pressure because of insufficient Government funding and the growth in demand for services.

"It makes good financial sense to seek ways to reduce back office costs by sharing appropriate services with other similar organisations or by using external companies.

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"What we are proposing in Cambridgeshire would generate a saving of at least £1million by 2008/09 - money that will be re-invested in front line services such as caring for older people, the disabled and families or providing improved schools, public transport and community facilities such as libraries," he promised.

"If the county council were to enter into a partnership with a private sector organisation, any employees that were to be transferred to a private sector company because of this decision would receive full legal protection and their terms and conditions of employment and pension entitlement would not suffer as a consequence.

"This proposal will not reduce the number of social workers, teachers or highways engineers. It could in fact result in the development of services, not reductions.

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