Unions attack Suffolk's 'outsourcing' plans

A union has attacked a decision by Suffolk County Council to support the policy of outsourcing a wide range of it services.

Councillors approved the measure, entitled New Strategic Direction, which aims to save the council 30% of its £1.1bn budget.

Unison said the council had "taken the decision to leap headlong into this gamble with services and jobs".

The Conservative-controlled council said savings were necessary.

The authority said it wanted to "reduce its size, cost and bureaucracy and build community capacity to enable Suffolk citizens to take greater control of their lives".

'Blank cheque'

The plans, which were backed at the meeting, mean some services could be outsourced later this year with others in three phases starting in April 2011.

Helen Muddock, branch secretary of the Suffolk county branch of UNISON, said: "Over the following weeks and months we will be working to protect services we all value within our community and the jobs delivering them to the old, young and the vulnerable.

"Today's decision amounts to a blank cheque given to the administration of Suffolk County Council to dismantle local public services as we know it."

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of the council, said: "Now that full council has debated the issue and agreed with the future model for the county council, we can begin to talk with the people of Suffolk so they can be involved in the shaping of services for the future."

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