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Row over "lack of ambition" claim at Worcester City Council
THE former leader of Worcester City Council has accused rival politicians of "lacking ambition" over handing services to new providers.
Councillor Simon Geraghty has called for more urgency over hiving out departments to outside bodies, saying he is disappointed that the process has slowed down since he was ousted from power.
But his criticism has been rejected as "hypocrisy" by the Labour leadership, which says nothing is off the agenda.
Back in 2012 the old Conservative administration revealed it wanted to examine every single service to see if they could be handed over.
The tactic, known as commissioning, can include the private sector, voluntary groups, not-for-profit bodies, charities, new enterprises or even other councils.
A more detailed wish list was then drawn up including bin collections, museum services and leisure.
Cllr Geraghty was ousted as city council leader in a coup last May after Labour teamed up with the Liberal Democrats.
Cllr Geraghty, now opposition Tory group leader, said: "There is a lack of ambition at this council over commissioning - where is the ambition to deliver the best value-for-money services for taxpayers?
"I'm not an instinctive outsourcer, if I wanted to do that I'd have done it seven years ago (after he became leader).
"I've now lost confidence with what this council agreed, particularly in areas like the bins service.
"This council needs to look at it again, start with the really big services and see if we can squeeze every last penny out of the taxpayers' pound."
His comments, made during a meeting of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee, were rejected by other politicians.
Councillor Joy Squires, from the Labour Party, said: "I remember it being said (by the Labour leadership) that no stone will be left unturned.
"That was stated very clearly by the cabinet, nothing is being ruled out."
After the meeting Councillor Richard Boorn, cabinet member for finance, said: "This isn't about policy, it's about headline making.
"He knows we are going to look at everything, this is hypocrisy."
The council needs to save £4.1 million by 2019, largely due to unprecedented cuts in Government funding.
It plans to look again at commissioning as part of balancing the books.
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