Uncertain future for 400 Hull City Council workers in school roles
AROUND 400 council staff in Hull are facing an uncertain future as a new review of school support services gets under way.
More schools in the city are deciding to become academies and more governing bodies are turning to private companies to deliver services ranging from catering and grounds maintenance to IT support and health and safety advice.
The city council currently provides more than 40 different services that schools pay for, administered and delivered by about 400 staff.
Now, a review is considering options including cutting some services and delivering others in different ways, with some staff being transferred to new private providers.
12 Ultrasound Fat loss treatments for the price of 6 with this...View details
Receive 12 Ultrasound Fat Loss treatments for the price of 6 with this voucher and experience the benefits of this revolutionary treatment at Sound Physique, Beverley clinic.
Terms: Strictly 1 voucher per person
Contact: 01482 861646
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
John Readman, the council's corporate director of adult, children and family services, said: "The majority of schools in Hull have traditionally bought in local authority services but that has changed quite dramatically in the past few years.
"The role of the local authority is shifting to being a champion and a commissioner of services rather than being a direct provider."
Mr Readman said government funding cuts also meant the review was necessary.
He said: "Even if we weren't experiencing unprecedented change in the market, we cannot sustain the current models of delivery, so we must seize this opportunity to act.
"Changes are happening fast, so we must act now if we are going to get ahead of them and position ourselves best to support schools."
A recent independent study revealed many heads and governors in Hull believe the council's school support services involve too much red tape and bureaucracy.
Mr Readman said the study also confirmed the councils services were "significantly more expensive" than other private providers.
He said one option being examined in the new review was to encourage clusters of schools to jointly buy in services.
He said: "It makes more sense for schools to work together on procurement instead of having 85 schools setting up 85 different contracts.
"Where we might no longer be a provider, by encouraging clusters of schools we would be able to transfer staff to the new provider because the contract would be large enough to allow it.
"That would also ensure jobs are kept in the city."
The three-month review is expected to be approved by cabinet councillors next week.
A further report setting out formal options for the cabinet will be produced in June.