York Green Party

York Greens call in decision on Council security privatisation

1 July 2015

York Green Party's Councillors have announced that they will be calling in for review the new Council administration's proposal to privatise security services in York, due to significant concerns about the plans as they currently stand. Of particular concern are the civil liberties implications of allowing a private operator to monitor city-wide CCTV and the impact of the changes on security staff currently employed by the Council.

The Conservative-Lib Dem administration last week announced in its Procurement of Council Security Services report that it was seeking approval to privatise security services in all Council-owned buildings, in addition to the already privatised security services in West Offices. The report further recommended outsourcing the monitoring of city-wide CCTV.

York Green Party is concerned by the plans for a number of reasons, namely:

· Full details of the scope of the Council buildings to be included have not been provided. For example, it is not clear whether the outsourcing will include schools and community centres.

· Regarding the option to include the CCTV Operations Centre in the contract, there is no evidence of consultation with Safer York Partnership and the police prior to this decision or any assessment of the impact on public confidence from CCTV cameras being in the control of a private operator.

· No details of the scale of the extension of the contract from West Offices to all Council buildings have been provided. Whilst the report acknowledges that the plans would have “workforce implications for the Council staff employed in this service”, it is not clear how many posts will be affected. It is also unclear by how much the value of the current contract for West Offices will increase when extended to all Council-owned buildings.

· There is no mention of the Council’s commitment to protect the Living Wage for all staff and whether or not retention of the Living Wage will be required as part of the new contract.

· There has been insufficient consultation with the trade unions representing Council security staff.

· There is no recognition that services such as the Mansion House are of special importance to the city and rely on experienced specialist staff.

Cllr Denise Craghill said:

The decision to call this item in for review reflects our local manifesto commitment to resist further privatisation, outsourcing and externalisation of Council services, particularly when it affects such an important matter as cctv surveillance throughout the city. We are especially concerned because the paper that was approved seems to include very little detail as to what will be included in the new contract, who will be consulted and who will make the final decision. We believe that further scrutiny is needed”.

York Green Party is now able to call in items for review due to the election of two more Councillors (Cllr Denise Craghill and Cllr Lars Kramm) in the May local elections, bringing their number of Councillors up to four. A minimum of three Councillors is required to call in an item for review.

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