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Pembrokeshire council to outsource key services

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Pembrokeshire County Council

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Pembrokeshire County Hall

Pembrokeshire council has approved plans to outsource several key services due to “unprecedented financial pressures”.

Culture and leisure services will be run by a charitable trust and a separate subsidiary will manage tourism.

The council hope it will “generate significant financial savings”.

However, trade union Unison said the council was acting on “risky and doubtful promises”.

Libraries, leisure centres and sports pitches will all be run externally in a move consultants say could save up to £1,598,000 over the next five years.

A committee will now go through the plans and the council’s cabinet will need to give final approval at a later meeting.

A spokesman for the council said: “The primary reason for embarking on the process was to seek an innovative way of continuing to generate significant financial savings while protecting valued front-line services.”

Hundreds of people signed Unison’s petition to “stop the outsourcing of council services” which was presented to leader of the council Jamie Adams on Thursday.

‘Squandering thousands’

Secretary of Unison’s Pembrokeshire branch Vic Dennis said: “The council is prepared to lose its award winning services on the risky and doubtful promises of overpaid consultants.

“This [money] could have been used to retain much-needed and valued services for this county and the staff who deliver them.”

Prof Steve Martin, director of the Centre for Local and Regional Government Research at Cardiff University, said further outsourcing across Wales was possible.

He said: “Councils can’t just wash their hands of services, they need to know how to be effective commissioners of the services they outsource.

“Welsh councils have received good settlements compared to England in recent years but they still face pressures on budgets.

“It’s possible that we’ll see more services contracted out.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-37802016

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