Libraries and residential care homes could be frontline services to be privatised in shake-up
Libraries and residential care homes could be among the first key frontline services to be privatised or run by other organisations in a wide-ranging County Hall shake-up.
The two are listed as among the first wave of services Kent County Council intends to subject to what it calls a “market review” under a three-year plan which will get under way next month.
The so-called market review of a dozen services represents the first step in the authority’s move to re-shape itself as a commissioning council - meaning it will focus on contracting out more services to the private and voluntary sector.
Libraries are among services which could be privatised
The shake-up is aimed at dealing with further budget cuts and the need to save £240m over the next three years.
A report detailing the overhaul, “Facing The Challenge;Delivering Better Outcomes” says: “There will no ideological or professional bias in regards to who may provide services.”
It adds that testing the market to see who is interested in taking over services “will be a key tool to support Kent County Council become a commissioning authority, reviewing options to identify the most appropriate provider.”
It does not rule out services continuing in-house but suggests the emphasis will be on the private sector “to identify opportunities for efficiencies and savings.”
Care homes could be targeted
In addition to libraries and old peoples homes, other services in line for privatisation in this first wave include Kent Scientific Services, the Contact Centre, EduKent - which sells school support services; legal services; personnel; ICT; finance and the communications department, which incorporates the press office.
In a foreword to the report, council leader Cllr Paul Carter (Con) writes: “Transformational change on such a scale is never easy...I am personally convinced that this is the only way forward to continue to provide the quality services so valued by Kent residents.”
County councillors will debate the plans next Thursday.
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