Walsall Council staff may be moved to private firms

Staff at a Black Country council could see their jobs transferred to the private sector as part of a money-saving shake-up, it was revealed today.

Walsall Council staff may be moved to private firms

Staff at a Black Country council could see their jobs transferred to the private sector as part of a money-saving shake-up, it was revealed today.

More services could be outsourced at Walsall Council, which has to save £70 million by 2015 due to massive cuts in Government funding.

The council's roads are already maintained by the private company Tarmac and its education services by Serco — two deals that previously saw the transfer of many local authority workers.

The changes would be made under the cost-cutting Working Smarter scheme, which will also see the council reduce its offices from 26 to just two.

By 2016, bosses want to see 20 per cent fewer staff in council buildings, achieved through home working, desk sharing and the possible transfer of workers.

Council leader Mike Bird said today: "As part of Working Smarter, some services we provide could be better served by a third party.

"Like our road deal with Tarmac, staff would be transferred over. We need to look at outsourcing jobs. Let's take libraries for instance, there may be someone who comes to us and says 'we will run your libraries for you'."

Councillor Bird said it was too soon to know how many redundancies could hit the council in the next 12 months.

"We will avoid job losses wherever possible and I hope the answer is zero," he said. "But it is too early to say and the election may change things. The elections will decide the make-up of Walsall Council.

"But we have been very careful with the budget and are in a better position that other councils across the country."

As part of Working Smarter, more than 1,800 council staff will have been relocated to the Civic Centre and Council House by 2016 and will have to share just 1,234 desks

The mass sell-off of buildings, currently housing around 1,000 staff, will raise £7.2 million.

So far, 137 people have taken voluntary redundancy.

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