Union angry over lack of talks on future of county

SUFFOLK: Trade union leaders at the county council are concerned about the lack of consultation with staff as the authority prepares to debate its future, it emerged today.

At next week’s meeting of the full council, there will be an agenda item on proposals to turn Suffolk into an “enabling authority”.

As we revealed last week, the ultimate aim would be to spin off all the council’s services. Some would be transferred to outside businesses, while others would be taken over by “social enterprises.”

The fear is that, over a period of several years, 30 to 35 per cent of the non-education jobs currently provided by the council could disappear leading to around 4,000 fewer public service jobs.

The agenda for next week’s meeting is due to be published later today. Media in the county have been alerted that there will be briefings for editors from chief executive Andrea Hill before the publication of that agenda.

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The exact content of the briefing has not been explained – but it is expected to relate to the council meeting. However, officials of the staff trade union Unison have not been offered any briefing and are very concerned.

A Unison official said: “It is, to say the least, unfortunate that the administration has waited until the last possible moment to release details of the full county council meeting. The motions to be debated mean a great deal to local people, taxpayers, and local services as well as the staff who provide them.”

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Council officials did not wish to speculate on the subject of today’s briefings.

n Is there enough consultation with staff at the county council? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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