Tuesday, 11 September 2012

petition against Cornwall Councils privatisation shared services scheme

Sign the petition against Cornwall Council's Strategic Partnership for Shared Services privitisation plans.
link to the epetition here
Four reasons to sign:

1. The people have not been asked. We the people of Cornwall that will pay for this scheme have not been asked. The Conservative party and Independent group did not stand on this privatisation scheme in an election. Despite the multi million pound nature of the contract the administration has unilaterally decided without a public referundum to take this action.

2. The workers that will have their employment transfered no doubt with worse terms and conditions have not been properly consulted. Every indication is that employees -who ought to know best about public services- do not want this part privatisation.

3. Despite the grandiose promises of the scheme providing savings, creating jobs and profits for the partner corporations, examples of this actually happening are hard to find. Authorities elsewhere have already ditched similar schemes when costs rose and taxpayers money was piled into the schemes to keep them afloat. Providing no savings, less jobs, more costs and worse public services.

4. Cornwall Councillors voted down this scheme and were very clear in their opposition. Despite this the select few in the cabinet, will not listen and pay more heed to slick corporate (unrealistic) arguments. Personally I'd prefer to live in a democracy whereby the people and councillors were listened to and respected. This is still a democracy after all.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to sign.


  1. Thanks for posting this - a disgraceful state of affairs, with no democracy, at Cornwall Council. I have written separately to all Cabinet members asking them to think again and stop this process. No wonder people 'switch off' from politics if our local elected councillors are ignored and feel they have no say in decisions which affect us all.

    1. Good point about the link to such undemocratic behaviour and voter apathy. Thanks Lance.

  2. I have also written to all Cabinet Members along similar lines. Edited highlights:

    1. Ignoring the majority of Cornwall's elected representatives.

    While it may not be illegal it is completely unethical, undemocratic and wrong for you to forge such dramatic changes without a mandate from those that the majority of Cornish voters elected. You were each elected on a promise of representing your constituents. Your appointment to the Cabinet is based on trust that you will listen and act on the majority's will. So please can you explain your cavalier approach to the biggest public service change seen in Cornwall since the Local Government Act of 1888?

    2. Outsourcing of services is anti-Cornish.

    You are proposing that, as a money-saving exercise--the exact sums of which have not been made transparent--it is essential you push ahead with outsourcing services that are valued at up to £800 million. It is very cynical of you to suggest that you must do this now because of an 'expected' drop in central government funding.
    Cornish Council Tax payers contribute to pay for public services run by a publicly-accountable local authority, and not to pay dividends to the shareholders of multinational corporations that contribute very little to the Cornish economy. It is entirely cynical for Ken Lavery to suggest that the proposals are "for the good of the people of Cornwall."

    3. In 10 years you will dismantle the entire infrastructure of public services in Cornwall.

    To award such a vastly lucrative contract to a company ultimately accountable to its shareholders is naive in the extreme. If the company goes bust or invokes a 'break clause', what exactly will happen to the services that have been outsourced? Who will own the assets?
    There is no doubt, considering the experience of other councils across the UK and elsewhere in the world, that public service infrastructures will be dismantled by any private company running them. Was not the lesson of the rubbish and recycling enough to open your eyes to what can happen?
    Non-profitable sections will be disposed of as it makes economic sense to do so. You may think you have power of influence over these decisions but ultimately you will not as it will be their boardrooms and not the Council Chamber that will have the final say.
    Once infrastructure is dismantled it will be by degrees more costly to rebuild. Skills will be permanently lost.

    4. What experience do BT and Computer Sciences Corporation have in running public services?

    It has been stated that many details have not been disclosed because of commercial confidentiality. If any of you were not in the Cabinet, wouldn't you absolutely insist on total transparency from your fellow elected councillors, not least to share this with us, the electorate?
    There is absolutely no information publicly available about either of these two companies that have been reported as being the two preferred bidders. What experience have they in providing the services you are proposing to outsource? What safeguards have been put in place to ensure that it isn't the Council Tax payer that ends up subsidising the company, or, even bailing them out of future financial trouble?
    It is entirely incongruous and insincere to suggest that either of these companies will provide services that are at the same level or higher than they currently are when you are not providing any information about them.

    5. You are selling off public accountability.

    Put simply, outsourcing public services is privatisation, however you wish to conceal it, and this means public accountability disappears completely too. Do you wish to have that on your conscience, and for history to record?
    At least your electorate can vote you out at the next local election. However we as the electorate have no say in a private company's boardroom.

    1. Five great points Tehmina, please let me know if you get any replies.

  3. This was the reason many people were originally against having a unitary authority - we needed a democratically elected Cornish Assembly not the farcical set-up we have currently, which incidently, was supported by the Lib Dems. Mebyon Kernow seems to be the only organisation with a political vision unlike the London parties and (some) independents.

  4. "Every indication is that employees -who ought to know best about public services- do not want this part privatisation."

    Here here!

  5. Why are we so surprised about the arrogance of our Council leaders , we were all asked to vote to make the council a unitary council and over 80% of voters voted NO but of course they did not take any noticed of the population then and went ahead and did what they wanted .
    Surely if services are put out to private companies then all the staff that are doing the jobs at the moment will have to be made redundant , how much is that going to cost . Then all of those workers will by law have to be offered employment with the private companies under TUPE ( Transfer of undertakings , Protection of employment ) . This to my mind is not creating new jobs but just moving staff from council employment to private employment .
    And as for saving money ( I have seen figures of between 5 & 10 million) surely a large employer like the council is able to purchace suplies etc. in bulk and therefore more cheaply than several smaller companies , this extra cost would have to be passed on to the council .

  6. Thanks for the comment anon.

    Alan all good points, I had hoped that what politicians had learnt from the unitary fiasco was that the people need to be listened to, but alas a different party the same attitudes. I can only agree with the other points you have made, thanks for the comment.

  7. Cornwall Council is not local or democratic. It was not and is not wanted by the majority of residents. It is unapproachable and unwieldy. It ignores requests for services. It was simply a glory seeking exercise for some power hungry Councillors with no thought for providing quality services. It provides ideological services that people do not want at the expense of core services that people should have. An expensive and unwanted white elephant that should be abolished sooner rather than later.

  8. Thanks for the comment Peter. I completely agree hopefully now this Joint Venture will be stopped and common sense will prevail. Rather ominious though that Conservative and indeed Independent councillors have not denounced this scheme for the folly it is. Which makes me ponder would another Tory council post 2013 elections revive the scheme.

  9. Cornwall Council is just the long arm of the English State, nothing more or less.