Local authority to outsource all services – including schools

Local authority to outsource all services - including schools

Education services at a county council are set to be taken over by a ‘specialist social enterprise’ as part of a radical overhaul in which the local authority will outsource all of its services.

Northamptonshire County Council announced the “Next Generation Council” plans yesterday in a bid to make £148m budget cuts over the next five years.

It will include moving most of its 4,000 staff to four new bodies, which will be commissioned to run services by the remaining 150 staff who will form a core commission council.

The 4,000 figure does not include teachers employed by the local authority, but Schools Week understands they are included in the changes.

It is thought school staff still under the local authority would have their contracts transferred to the new body under TUPE regulations. The new organisation is expected to be called “A Children Services Mutual” and would be employed by the council to deliver “safeguarding and other services for young people” however the council said the plans are still at an early stage.

The overhaul has been billed as one of the biggest ever changes to public services and the council wants the bodies to be up and running within five years.

Jim Harker, council leader, said: “The traditional model of local government not only no longer works financially but also doesn’t meet the needs of citizens any more. We are serving people with a totally new set of expectations about how they receive goods and services with an expectation of greater individual choice and more responsiveness. Our Next Generation Model will not only help rise to these expectations but do so in a way which is affordable.

“It is certainly no exaggeration to say that this is the biggest transformation of services in Northamptonshire since the creation of this council 125 years ago.”

The other organisations to be set up will fall under “Accountable Care”, “Wellbeing Community” and “Place Shaping”.

Work will now start to explore how services can be provided under the new structure. The first option to be explored will be a wellbeing community interest company.

Bill Parker, cabinet member for finance, added: “As well as these larger organisations the message is clear that other services would also be able to form new enterprises either as private businesses, social enterprises, charities or as part of the voluntary sector. They would all be free to win other contracts to generate additional income to help reduce their costs to the council.

“We have already seen how this can be done in our back office through our LGSS model. By winning new contracts and earning extra income LGSS has systematically reduced the costs of these services to the county council. The Next Generation Model will look to expand this spirit across our front line.”