Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swansea Council considering the unthinkable?

Swansea Council have put their head above the parapet and are potentially opening the door to private companies to run vital services for the most vulnerable people across Swansea.

Priviatisation by the back door is how Andrew Davies AM is defining it. The Conservatives in WAG are clearly defining their position, money is tight, the Labour led coalition has asked Councils to think the unthinkable, when they do they slammed by the very members who asking them in the first place.

Betsan's Blog
Has a more sardonic view to this debate.

My original home Sandwell has been floating the idea for months of a social enterprise model for social services - one I might add that was abandoned almost as quickly as it was conceived but Swansea council are taking things a step further and through a series of nudges and winks that would make any codebreaker confused, are testing the water ona potential sell off.

What is not being alluded to however, is the reason that Swansea is the first local authority to actually consider this as an option.
The reason is simply; the Council have mismanaged their finances and services to such an extent that (I repeat the leader Chris Holley's assertion) the Council is broke!

The waste of money between 2004 -2007 was and still is staggering. Tens of millions wasted on a failed IT project, a new road network that no one wanted and so on.
Swansea were the first Council to make a real cuts within the education sector -a full year before most local authorities even considered the idea.

Let's be charitable; some of this was down to inexperience. A lack of understanding of basic economics also was an early problem for the Lib-Dem led coalition in Swansea. However that cannot excuse the failure to address some of the core problems at the heart of Swansea and the incessant whining 'that it's not our fault', 'we blame the Assembly', 'we blame central government' (although strangely the latter has abated of late) is tiresome at best.

It's easy now to get on the bandwaggon that everyone is facing cuts, they are. Swansea however is starting from a distinct disadvantage, we spent more than we had in the good times, maxed out the credit card to such an extent that when the bad times hit and we were facing real and undeniable problems, there was no money left.

That is the issue that is being forgotten in the argument about privitisation by the backdoor.
We shouldn't be in this predicament in the first place!
This is the start of some seismic and generation changing decisions being made from Swansea Council and all bets are off.

For more comments regarding this issue see the press release from Andrew Davies AM at:


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