Author Topic: Another Wiltshire Council Contractor reducing its services?  (Read 2453 times)

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Offline Mike Hawkins

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Another Wiltshire Council Contractor reducing its services?
« on: April 14, 2017, 19:10:41 pm »
Local Authorities (LAs'), like Wiltshire Council, put these services out to private companies to save money. These private companies, unlike Local Authorities, are profit making organisations. It is therefore obvious to except the most stupid, that for private companies to do these services for less than it costs the LAs', then parts of the service will NOT be provided. The council taxpayers are, once again, paying more for less!! It really is time the Government stepped in and made these services Mandatory for the Local Authorities to provide themselves!

What I would like one of our Unitiary Councillors to state is - What are the current financial reserves of Wiltshire Council that they cannot afford to provide basic services?, and, What are their plans for these reserves?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 19:14:10 pm by Mike Hawkins »
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Offline baldy

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Re: Another Wiltshire Council Contractor reducing its services?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 19:49:50 pm »
Hi Mike

Your Wiltshire Councillor is David Jenkins, who is running as a WC candidate despite being too ill to think or say anything that makes any real sense most of the time. He just talks drivel by pouncing on some sort of key word he recognises and saying some sort of obvious point that has already been made and left behind in any debate to focus on really important details ....  He has not bothered to run for the town council ....

The point you make is a very common misunderstanding which I am guilty of thinking also until some years ago when I sat down with the Head of Service for Landscaping contracts. I am not going to name him here but he is a civil engineer who really knows his onions and is very over qualified for the job he does. He is a former Conservative councillor (like me and you). He resigned as a councillor to become a member of staff. When the main changes occurred so that in-house work was transferred or outsourced to contractors, I sat down with him to go over the rationale and to understand what exactly the contractors are supposed to do each week or month in Westbury ...

On the point about contractors needing to take a profit out of the whole picture and still provide a complete service with actually rather a substantial chunk of work (meaning efficiencies of scale exist) and money he said that external contractors can provide a better service at a cheaper cost to the council because:

1. The contractors have huge resources so that they can invest in bigger better more modern equipment which they use on other contracts they have as well, whereas the council could not invest such large sums in the latest equipment that would only be used a fraction of the time. The contractors can spread the cost of major equipment etc over several customers in other words.

2. The contractors can more easily deal with underperforming staff or make the teams run more efficiently with more flexible contract / employment arrangements that the council cannot arrange because of unions that watch all over anything the council does. This is not to say that the unions are more trouble than help as actually they do a lot of good and these days are far more cooperative and helpful when redundancies need to be made. Whilst saying this, Wiltshire Council has made large numbers redundant over recent years but the vast majority have been from voluntary redundancies and staff taking a package deal agreed by unions to leave.  The redundancies have been a natural result of the savage Government funding cuts to local Government.

So, although the contractor organisation takes a profit, it more than makes up for this by the extra efficiencies it can bring through using better equipment that the council cannot afford and more efficient staff management which the council cannot really implement anywhere near quick enough or ruthlessly enough ....

Also, the job for people like the Head of Service now is to carefully manage the contract through making the contractor keep to the specification and schedule with appropriate resources allocated ..... and to change contractor when they don't perform ....

As for the figures in the council's accounts .... to be honest it would not help with any understanding of the relevant issues as the money moves around in a way that means just looking at a few figures will not explain the whole situation ...
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 19:57:39 pm by baldy »
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