Labour Oppose the Public Health and Well Being CiC

At the full council in November we were asked to approve a report of the Next Generation Council Public Health and Well Being CiC. After consultation and expensive advice from legal advisers and consultants the administration has decided to form a new Teckel company limited by guarantee with a separate trading company. This will involve the transfer of staff from lots of services- libraries, Sport Northamptonshire, Adult Education, Country Parks, the School Meals services and so on. The Labour Group have been asking questions and making a challenge to this idea right from the beginning. We understand the need for partnerships, pooled budgets and joint commissioning. We do not agree the case has been made for taking the services out of the county council and forming new company.
At the meeting I circulated a letter of complaint I have received from a constituent who rightly said that she expects her Councillors to be there to represent constituents, develop policy and hold the administration to account- not to oversee privatised services.
This is the essence of the speech I made opposing the Conservative case for a Public Health and Well Being CiC.
“Chair, I want to do two things.
The first is to acknowledge the enormous amount of detailed work that has gone into the report and the way that questions raised by Councillors and through public consultation have been addressed. This is a much better piece of work for that kind of forensic response.
But the second thing I want to do is to take issue with the conclusions. There is nothing in this report or in the business case that reassures me that the time, money, effort of such a major upheaval is going to be either cost effective or produce better outcomes. The rationale for this at the outset was about integration but also about pooled budgets. NCC is contributing 96% of the budget. The argument has gone out of the window. The university is contributing expertise? But no personnel and no budget? The argument has gone out of the window. Does that mean the NHS is contributing just 4%. What is all that about? The argument has gone out of the window.
I want to object very strongly to recommendation 4 calling for agreement to set up the CiC. The case has not been made. It will be costly. It will include duplication of management oversight, it is a distraction to the job that needs to be done and it will produce worse- not better outcomes.
5.11.2 of the report refers to health checks in country parks. Is this a perk for the leisured and the rich? We know disadvantaged communities find accessing the country parks a huge issue.
I want to refer to two other things. In 4.4 of the report talking about the maximum scope option it refers to integration, holistic approaches, a well trained staff able to undertake multiple interventions. Yes that is what we want and that is what we should have been having. Strategic, coordinated, well managed. We do not need to outsource to get this.
I refer to 5:12 of the report. This is about equalities impact.
In this area of work equalities is all too important. The health and life chances inequalities across the county are damning, they are man- made- I choose my words with care- , and they need to be addressed. A good outcome from consultations has been the realisation that additional services need to be part of the integrated whole including debt and benefit advice. Can I add to that , income maximisation? The rich have their accountants to help them do that the poor have no-one.
Finally- it is important to work more closely with the boroughs and districts and I look forward to Northampton Borough receiving a presentation from the county which I hope is also an invitation to co-design and co-deliver”.