School 'privatisation' under the microscope
DISPUTED plans to outsource 4,000 council jobs and dozens of school services are to be examined again today.
Staffordshire County Council has already agreed a deal with Capita, which will take a 51 per cent stake in a new venture set up to run everything from school meals to special needs support.
The Tory-run authority believes it will protect council services from being eroded by private competition as schools use increasing financial independence to buy elsewhere.
Unions have branded the move 'privatisation' and fear jobs will be at risk as the firm looks to meet profit targets.
Now opposition councillors have formally 'called in' the decision. Senior officers and councillors face questioning at a meeting today.
Christina Jebb, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, said: "My main concern is the issue of power or control – whether it's the county council that has the power over what happens to the services or where it's the private company."
A total of 13 Labour MPs have so far backed Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley's early day motion for a Parliamentary debate on the council's deal with Capita.