Suffolk County Council continues outsourcing of services
NEARLY three quarters of the people currently working in Suffolk County Council's adult and community department will have new employers by April 2013.
As the county's policy of outsourcing services continues, the number of employees at the department is set to fall from 3,557 to 895 between next month (March 2012) and March 2013.
All staff will be moved under the provisions of Transfer Under Protected Employment (TUPE) arrangements, which will ensure that their conditions of work and pension arrangements are unaffected by the change.
It also means that, if they are subsequently made redundant, their payment will be based on years of service at the county council.
County councillor with responsibility for adult care, Colin Noble, said the changes reflected the fact that the authority had less money, and needed to find other ways of operating.
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He said: 'To maintain those services as best we can, we need to look for new ways of working and opportunities to involve other organisations in those services.
'What these figures show is that by working differently and in partnership, services can continue while job losses are minimised and taxpayers' money can be saved.
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'We need to find the right balance between saving money and protecting services and jobs and I think we are achieving that balance.'
Unison regional organiser Michelle Bradley said her members were not opposed in principle to the changes – but needed to be convinced that they would be good for themselves and those who used the services.
The Leading Lives transfer was likely to be one of the first, and the union had serious doubts about whether all the necessary paperwork would be completed in time for the April 1 planned transfer.
Libraries staff are expecting to be transferred in June – and there was uncertainty for the service over this.
Ms Bradley said: 'It does feel as if we are moving from uncertainty within the council to greater uncertainty in a new organisation. There is still a great deal of work to do before staff are convinced on this.'