Archive for November 27th, 2012

Conservative Controlled County Council Set to Approve Deal to Protect School Services and Jobs

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Cllr Ian Parry

A deal to safeguard school support services, protect thousands of jobs and bring in over £50m of investment, will go to Conservative Party controlled Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet for approval next week.

On Wednesday (5th December), Cabinet Members will be recommended to select Capita as the County Council’s partner in a new joint venture.

The partnership would have its headquarters in Staffordshire and provide an extensive package of services from school improvement to catering, ground maintenance and performing arts.

Under the proposed deal, 1,613 additional jobs will be created in Staffordshire in addition to the almost 4,000 staff transferring into the new joint venture.  Capita will also bring over £50 million of investment, £40 million of which will be dedicated to staff and services over the next three years.  The county council will receive a capital payment of nearly £32 million, which will be available to reinvest in a wide range of council projects and services including education, care for the elderly and looking after children in care.

Capita have committed to protect jobs and transfer all existing staff under TUPE regulations, meaning that their current pay and conditions will be protected.  The deal will bring about vital investment and commercial expertise, meaning services to schools are sustained and around 4,000 jobs are protected.  These would otherwise be lost in the face of reduced funding to schools and growing competition from the private sector.  Rather than being forced to keep scaling back services, the county council has formed a radical solution that will avoid a potential ‘death by a thousand cuts’ situation.

County Councillor Ian Parry, Cabinet Member for Education, Finance and Transformation said: “This joint venture offers a once in a generation opportunity to both safeguard and improve services to schools, bring over £50 million of new investment into Staffordshire, and create 1,600 new jobs.

“Staffordshire is a well-run county council that takes an innovative approach to deliver the very best services.  This decision will be taken after one of the most extensive, rigorous and robust procurement exercises we have ever done.  We looked thoroughly at all the options and will make this decision based on a clear business case.

“Although both shortlisted bidders matched our values and objectives, the offer from Capita represents the best value for money for the council tax payers of Staffordshire.  They are a top 100 FTSE company with extensive experience in the education and schools sector.  They have a strong presence in education with 85% of schools in England using Capita products, and are involved a number of successful partnerships with other local authorities.

“Our partnership with Capita will be a joint venture.  It is an innovative solution that will combine the best of the public sector – our knowledge and expertise in delivering services to schools – with the commercial acumen of the private sector, so that we can compete in the marketplace and ultimately safeguard around 4000 jobs for the future.

“We have engaged with schools and other stakeholders throughout the process, and will continue to engage with them as the new joint venture is formed.  The offer from Capita represents a massive vote of confidence in both the excellent staff that work in these services, and in Staffordshire as a place to invest and do business.”

The recommendations will be taken to Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet, who will make the final decision on December 5.