UNISON warns similar deals have failed up and down the country

Tim Lezard

Cornwall CouncilUNISON has condemned Cornwall Council Cabinet’s decision to privatise services in a controversial deal with BT.

The deal, which would see council staff transferred to BT from the IT, document management and telecare departments, has been mired in controversy over the last year that saw the removal of the council leader and various resignations from the council.

The deal, which purported to bring NHS and council services closer together, faltered earlier this month when the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust withdrew from the deal. It now transpires that only 23 staff will transfer from the NHS in Telehealth services which are run by Cornwall Peninsula Health, a social enterprise established last year.

Speaking after the Cabinet decision, UNISON South West regional organiser Stuart Roden said: “These type of deals have failed up and down the country.  Most have ended in acrimony, contractual dispute and failure.  We are concerned that this could follow that trend and that getting out of these costly deals can be very expensive and time-consuming.

“We also fail to understand why there was this rush to let a contract within a week when the council elections are to be held in early May.  This undue haste is very worrying and we fear the council is being rushed into a deal that will not deliver and could prove very costly in due course.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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