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More jobs are at risk if we don’t make changes
MORE council services in Worcester are expected to be handed over to outside providers – with bosses calling for a radical change of the status quo.
Councillor Andy Roberts, the city council’s cabinet member for finance, says more jobs and services are at risk unless they are offered to other organisations.
The council is battling a 19 per cent cut in Government funding by 2015 and has already announced plans to axe 26 jobs to help reduce the deficit.
As your Worcester News revealed last year, it also wants to commission out services – handing them to the private sector, community organisations or other groups.
So far bin collections, museums, leisure centres, grounds maintenance and the revenues and benefits department are being marketed to new providers.
Council chiefs say they will only be handed over if suitable organisations come forward with a commitment to protect the service.
Coun Roberts said the bleak cash settlements are further evidence of the need for change.
“We’ve been talking about commissioning for some time – it’s not something new that we’ve put on the table,” he said.
“Back in October I said we need to pursue an ambitious agenda on commissioning – and this Government settlement means we need to radically transform what we deliver and how we deliver it. It’s not something we are trying to hide, it’s out there for people to see and this is what we’ll be building on.”
The funding is being slashed by five per cent in 2013/14 and 14 per cent in 2014/15 – with the city council already factoring in cuts of about £1.2 million to plug some of the gap. But there is still about £250,000 that needs to be saved by April 2015 to balance the books, which has yet to be identified.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader of the council, said: “The reduction in the first year is what we expected but it’s the second year which is harder – it’s a tough ask in terms of having to find an extra quarter of a million to cut.
“But it is over a year away and as we have an excellent track record of making efficiencies I’m sure we will rise to the task.”
Bosses expect any savings from the commissioning project to start from 2015.