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Being Labour, Breaking News, Cotterill on the Council

The great Tory privatisation con trick

03.18.10 | Comment?

‘Lancashire Local’ meetings were established under a County Council Labour administration to bring together District level and County level councillors to discuss and decide on matters under County responsbility of District interest (and vice versa). 

They’ve also served as a public forum for local people to address and challenge politicians and senior officers directly, often over highways matters as it turned out.  They’ve not been perfect, but last night there were a couple of dozen people present keen to have their say.

Last night was the final Lancashire Local meeting . They have been abolished by the new Tory administration, who do not want their actions scrutinised or challenged in this way.

On the final agenda there was an item about the new ‘Face to Face’ strategy for the county council’s operation in West Lancashire. 

This is the third aspect of the county council’s overall ‘Customer Access Strategy’, which also includes its web and telephone services.

I took the opportunity to ask to what extent and how the implementation of this new strategy might be affected by the plans for massive privatisation of all ‘IT-related services’, which are still being kept secret.

The answer I got back from the senior county council officer present was that those tendering to run the service would need to operate within the parameters of the Customer Access Strategy, including the Face to Face strategy.

This is interesting, to say the least. 

This is what the leaked  ‘Invitation to Participate in Dialogue: Instructions and Guidance to Participants’ (issued to shortlisted bidders BT, Capgemini and IBM) has to say:

Participants are required to submit an outline Customer Access Strategy and Delivery Plan for the First Partnership Period.

The Partnership will be required to produce a Customer Access Strategy and Delivery Plan for each subsequent three year period of the Partnership (the duration of the final Customer Access Strategy and Delivery Plan will be dependant on whether the initial ten year period is extended).

So let’s get this right:

a)  Councillors are asked to agree a strategy, which we’re told will hold good whether or not the services are privatised. 

b) The strategy makes no mention whatsoever of the process currently taking place to privatise services, even though it’s been drafted after that privatisation process started. 

c) Meanwhile, a secret document to bidders asks them to draw up their own, presumably wholly different strategy.

Anyway think we might be being conned?

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