West Sussex County Council may indeed be pleased with progress made so far in relation to its Adult Education service being branded ‘inadequate’ by OFSTED (‘County pleased with ‘fair’ Ofsted report’, September 22).
But it is not out the woods yet having made ‘reasonable progress’ in four problem areas, and ‘insufficient progress’ in a fifth.
The fact that the county is having to expend this effort and expense to help get its Adult Education service back firing on all cylinders is testimony to the consequences of its unhealthy obsession with outsourcing perfectly good council services. OFSTED rated the county’s adult education as ‘good’ before it was outsourced.
Contracting out essential public services has a track record of failure in our county – and tax payers should be concerned at the waste of money which can sometimes also accompany the deterioration of services.
When the county had the chance recently of re-looking at its adult education services and potentially insourcing them, it took the decision not to do so on the flimsiest of evidence bases.
That the back of a fag packet is deemed sufficient for these decisions is another source of concern.
This approach is continuing across other services, and residents have the recent discussion on potentially outsourcing a range of essential children’s services like Children and Family Centres to also be concerned about now.
The county needs a fresh and more rigorous approach to how it takes decisions about the future of its services, but there is scant sign of this as yet.
Branch Secretary, UNISON West Sussex, County Hall, Chichester
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make our website your homepage at www.wscountytimes.co.uk
2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wscountytimes
3 Follow us on Twitter @wscountytimes
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
The County Times – always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.