31/05/2012 - Permalink

Ground breaking plans for a bold new approach to public services in Shropshire move forward

Related topics: Democracy

Details about the new trading company being established by Shropshire Council will be discussed by senior councillors next week.

A detailed report will go to Cabinet on Wednesday (6 June 2012), which sets out how the company will be run, and those council services which might be transferred to it first, later in the year, together with a detailed implementation plan to manage the significant changes involved.

The new company is being developed to provide innovative new approaches, at a time of large reductions to public sector spending, to maintain both the range and quality of the services the council provides to improve the quality of life of local people, as well as to protect and grow local jobs.

The report will also go to the council’s performance and strategy scrutiny committee for further consideration, to ensure that the planned approach to setting it up is sound.

The name of the company is ip&e (group) limited, which stands for “Inspiring Partnerships and Enterprise”, reflecting the core values that will underpin the work that will be carried out by the new organisation.

The name is also intended to demonstrate that the new organisation will be a true partnership, as it will work with a wide range of partners and local providers to ensure that services are delivered by those best equipped to do so.

The report proposes that work starts on preparing full business cases for the transfer to the company of the resources and staff of Shire Services (catering, cleaning and facilities management), and Shared Support Services (finance, personnel and IT), along with legal services and print services.

These service areas employ over 1,700 staff and spend £36 million a year, which would immediately make the company one of the largest employers in Shropshire.  Final decisions on this will be made later in the year, when the second block of services to be transferred in 2013 will also be identified.

Staff working in these areas have already been informed about how the changes might affect them, and further detailed conversations will take place with them over the next few months, as the business cases are developed.

Leader of Shropshire Council, Keith Barrow, said:

“This report allows us to get on with implementing the decision made by council a month ago.  We can now start putting the right structures in place so we can move forward as quickly as we can.

“As these are such ground breaking proposals for Shropshire, it’s important that the report goes for full discussion at scrutiny as well as in Cabinet.  This is a great opportunity for our staff and we need to talk to them about the exciting opportunities that will be presented by the new company, and involve them fully in creating it and making it successful.

“These changes will benefit both current and future staff, and will create new jobs for local people which will be a big boost to Shropshire’s economy.  It’s going to change the face of local government as we know it in Shropshire for the better.  I want local people to see and feel the positive difference this will make within 12 months, as well as for years to come.”