Councillors get training to deal with handovers

First published in Local

COUNCILLORS are going to be handed "commercial" training as more services get handed to the private sector.

It can be revealed that Worcestershire County Council wants all 57 of its elected politicians to be extensively briefed on how to get the most from any new deals with private companies.

The training, which is taking place at the end of this month, comes as the council plans to hand over 85 per cent of services to new providers by 2018.

Under the tactic, known as commissioning, outside organisations are being invited to bid for services and departments.

It has emerged that the council wants to sit councillors down every six weeks for the rest of 2014 to update them on the plans.

The website will also be beefed up so it provides the public with extra details on how the process works, the services at risk and what commissioning is about and it will include a timetable for each service or function, the stage of the process each one is at, and how the public can get involved in any consultations.

The agreement to provide commercial training at County Hall follows some concern councillors will find it difficult to adapt to the rapid pace of change.

That led to a piece of work from councillor Kit Taylor, a backbench Conservative, who was tasked with leading an in-house investigation into how much involvement they should have.

His requests have been accepted by the Conservative cabinet, which met last week.

Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for commissioning and transformation, said: "What this does show is the need for a different approach from members of the council."

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