Jobs fear over Brent Council’s proposals to share services with other boroughs

Town hall are considering teaming up with Barnet, Hounslow and Richmond

Vital council services could be placed in the hands of private contractors – sparking fears of a reduction in quality and widespread job losses.

Brent Council’s executive will consider a report which recommends sharing services including street cleaning, park maintenance and waste collection across four boroughs – Brent, Barnet, Hounslow and Richmond.

Stuart Barber, regional organiser for West and South London at Unison, said the plans could spell “madness”.

He said: “Clearly they are looking at cost saving measures and we will be watching very carefully in terms of threats to our members’ jobs.”

In 2010 Barnet Council announced plans to run all council services under an umbrella organisation called One Barnet.

Mr Barber said: “Something similar also happened in Ealing and there was uproar over dirty streets so the private company had to employ a large number of extra staff.”

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The scheme is expected to save around �1.35million per year.

Martin Francis, the borough’s Green Party spokesman, expressed fears over a potential drop in standards. He said: “It begs the question, could whichever company takes over cope with having four boroughs to look after? Services such as parks and cleaning could easily deteriorate and not get the expertise they require.”

The council’s report concedes that there could be implications for staff in sports, parks and highway operations and the possibility of “small changes” to staff in waste and recycling.

The report adds: “This would be a ground breaking, innovative approach to delivering public realm services. It would be the largest contract of its type in the UK and the level of savings from the collaborative option would be greater than a single borough procurement process.”

The report will be discussed at the council’s executive meeting on Monday