Shared services proposal splits Cornwall Council

Councillors in Cornwall are calling for the removal of council leader Alec Robinson as the cabinet debates a proposal for shared services

Councillors in Cornwall are calling for the removal of the council leader as the cabinet proposes a shared services deal that encompasses libraries, benefits, payroll and IT services.

A total of 41 councillors have signed a petition to remove council leader Alec Robertson, claiming the decision relating to the shared services is bypassing the full council and being debated by only 10 cabinet members. An online petition is also calling for a debate of the issue in full council.

Cornwall councillor Rob Nolan told Computer Weekly he thought the move to shared services should be a decision taken by the full council. 

“We even had a vote of the full council and 46 members out of 123 voted against it, 29 voted for it. But the council counted those that abstained as voting for it,” said Nolan.

Nolan said that, although he is not a proponent of shared services, it is the fact that such a fundamental change is not being decided by full council that is the area of contention for him. 

“I am not keen on shared services because what we have seen at other councils has not worked," said Nolan.

Nolan said the shared service, which will be a joint venture with BT or CSC if approved, is being driven by the council’s CEO Kevin Lavery. In the past Lavery has worked for suppliers including BT and Serco.

Councillor Andrew Wallis has set up an online petition to attempt to have the issue debated at full council. He said it has exceeded the 5,000 signatures required to push through a re-examination of the proposal.

Wallis said he is against the share service that could see 1,000 staff transfer to a supplier. 

“I do not believe it is in the best interest of the council to hand too much over to a private company. This is most of our core services and a private company is answerable to its shareholders not our citizens,” said Wallis.

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