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'Grave concerns' over council jobs venture

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

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A trade union has called on councillors in Cornwall to bin proposals for a controversial venture which would see many core services and 1,000 council staff transferred to a new private company.

In a strongly-worded letter sent to all 123 members of Cornwall Council ahead of a crucial vote today, Unison has urged far reaching decisions be suspended until an electoral mandate is obtained.

If given the green light, the joint venture company will be a partnership between Cornwall Council and a private enterprise which could be responsible for running services such as human resources, library services, benefit payments and IT in the county and beyond.

However, Nick Olgard, chairman of Unison Cornwall's local government branch, said councillors must think twice.

He said that staff were simply not convinced that venture could deliver what was promised. "We have grave concerns," he said.

"The idea is that this joint venture will create quality jobs and that is a great idea, but it simply doesn't hold water."

The letter accuses the authority of spending up to £2 million on consultants and external legal advice in their determination to push the agenda.

It adds that success is not guaranteed and similar ventures set up by other local authorities have hit difficulties at vast cost to council tax payers.

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