councillors in row over 'privatisation' of council services
row erupted between Burnham-On-Sea councillors last night (Monday)
over the 'privatisation' of childrens centre services in Somerset.
Lib Dem town councillor Phil Harvey, right, spoke out during
a debate at Monday night's town council meeting about his concerns
that Somerset County Council intends "to privatize" childrens
centre services and public health services in the county.
said: "There has been no public consultation on the possible
contracting out - otherwise known as 'privatisation' - of these
services and even front-line staff and opposition councillors were
not told about it. They have found out by reading an advert
states that the council is seeking to expressions of interest from
organisations that might be interested in delivering health visiting,
school nursing and early help services for childrens centres and
advert invites feedback from 'market providers' but there has been
no proper consultation with the general public about this specific
Harvey added: "Fortunately, we can breathe a sigh of relief
in our area as the changes to childrens centres will mean very little
for Burnham and Highbridge since Highbridge is set to become a new
family centre and the service should will be virtually unaltered."
Conservative county councillor Peter Clayton, right, hit
back: "What a highly politically motivated speech that was."
County Council is simply exploring the options for the future -
the full and accurate facts about the options are all freely and
openly available. There is no 'privatisation' planned."
Cllr John Parkes fired back: "How is it 'highly politically
motivated' when people could be losing their jobs?"
councillors agreed to welcome the County Council's new childrens
centre proposals for Burnham and Highbridge, given the apparent
lack of changes.
councillors decided to ask Somerset County Council to discuss the
wider county-wide proposals with the community group Highbridge
and Burnham Together to seek more local integration of services.
Clayton abstained from voting.