Labour Calls in Cabinet decision re Connexions

This Call In is about the process of Cabinet decision making in relation to the future of Connexions. Everything I say here I have already said to the Connexions board, of which I am a member.
Our services are paid for by the public purse and are of vital importance to the users of the service. We must ensure therefore that what we do is evidenced based and is the most likely to produce the desired outcomes.
When I first joined the Connexions board we had an away day looking at the future options for Connexions. Our SWOT analysis seemed to suggest we needed to bring the service back in house. The agreement that day was that we would commission a piece of work evaluating and costing all the different options we came up with and this would inform our final decision.
This piece of work was never done. Cabinet has not been given evidence for the decision it has made to allow Connexions to re-brand and to become a private company.
The options that should have been explored and presented to Cabinet are these:-
• Leaving Connexions as it is.
• Bringing it back in House.
• Working with the team to create workers cooperative that we develop a partnership with.
• Working with the team to create a community interest group or social enterprise that we are in partnership with.
• Allowing the service to carry our name and re-brand a traded service as a limited not for profit private company.
• Allowing the service to carry our name and re-brand a traded service as a for profit private company.
I would like to see a business case for all these options.
I would like to see the intelligence for each option, driven by needs assessment and an assessment as to which option is most likely to be successful.
I am mindful of the lecture on the Free Market given to us at Cabinet by Cllr. Clark when he graphically explained how out of ten companies that are created, 8 necessarily go to the wall.
I am mindful of the experience of the childrens centres in the county who wasted much time, money and effort creating consortia to bid for the work they were the experts in only to have the work awarded to national bodies. We lost a great deal of local intelligence through this wasteful exercise
I am mindful of the fact that on many occasions our young leaders and other young people have told us that the Careers Information, Advice and Guidance in the schools are woefully inadequate. Our young people need more support to understand all their options from apprenticeships to university, to work opportunities.
My fear is that the energy, time and money that the Cabinet has committed to transforming Connexions in to a private company will be a waste of energy, time and money. It is a distraction from the work Connexions should be doing supporting our young people in these difficult times.
There is every likelihood that re-branded as a Free Market company Connexions will be one of the 8 of ten new companies referred to by Cllr. Clark that goes to the wall.
If our own schools, even knowing the high quality of service provided by Connexions do not in the main buy in their services, what chance is there of other schools in other authorities buying the service?
We need to see all the options laid out. We need to see the intelligence around each option and we need to see proper business planning.