Conservative councils pioneered outsourcing council services in London with Wandsworth pioneering in the 1980s, accelerating the process with Barnet and Bromley since 2010. Services have been outsourced incrementally from care in the community, local council tax collection, car parking, social services, housing and so on – effectively selling off everything they could.
Now Northamptonshire County Council has gone for the big bang. It plans to get rid of 125 years of local authority history by handing over all council services to private outsourcing companies.
The council has announced its “Next Generation Model”, reducing council employees from 4,000 to a rump of 150 staff who will commission services. It says it will create “separate stand-alone organisations free from statutory restraints”.
In practice the philosophy is to abdicate social responsibility for the people of Northamptonshire, abolish any concept of local democracy and hand control over to whichever outsourcing multinational wants to occupy the historic county.