Cheshire East Council switching jobs to new company to help save money
MORE than 300 council jobs will be transferred to a new company in a bid to save cash.
Cheshire East Council is planning to spend £320,000 to set up a business that will provide services currently shared with Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The company, which is known as a Separate Legal Entity (SLE), would be jointly owned by the two authorities, who would appoint a managing director to run it.
Staff currently working in ICT, human resources and finance shared services will be affected by the plans, which will be considered by Cheshire East Council's cabinet on January 7.
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A report prepared for councillors states that setting up the SLE would 'establish greater efficiency, improve service quality and expand commercial opportunities'.
If the move goes ahead, each council will have to shell out almost £200,000 in set-up costs, plus a further £125,000 in running costs for the first year of the project.
However, it is hoped that once the first phase is complete, the SLE will provide year-on-year savings of £360,000. If the company brings in another public sector partner, it could save up to £1.4 million a year.
The SLE may also bring in revenue, as it is free to market its services to other customers. The plans would see 330 staff transferred to the new company.
The report states: "If the decision to proceed with the SLE is made, then essentially those staff providing the services immediately before transfer will follow the work and transfer from both councils to the SLE. Approximately 330 full-time equivalent staff will be affected.
"They would transfer on their current terms and conditions and continuity of service would be preserved."
The report states that the pensions of affected staff would be protected under the Best Value Authorities Staff Transfer (Pensions) Direction.
It says: "The protection is such that a new employer must provide all transferring staff who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme, or entitled to join, with continued access to the LGPS or to a broadly comparable pension scheme."
Leader of Cheshire East Council's Labour group David Newton, who represents Crewe East, said it was important staff did not lose out because of the changes.
He said: "The most important thing is that staff are protected under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations and they are also entitled to pension protection. On the face of it the SLE seems to offer efficiencies and savings.
"The real test will be not now, but what happens down the line in a few years."