Taberner House has been in touch to say that Croydon Council’s plans for a Local Authority Trading Company, due to be put forward for approval at next Monday’s crucial Cabinet meeting, will be limited to operations in three areas operated by its adult service department.
According to paragraph 3.6.3 of the council’s recommendation, “The first tranche of services to be considered for inclusion in the LATC would be: Croydon Equipment Services; Learning Disability Day Services; and Croydon Employment Support services (CESS)” (see page 13 of the report here).
The report draws comparisons with similar LATCs established in Kensington & Chelsea and in Essex. In the latter instance, the LATC saw the transfer of 850 staff off that council’s books, establishing a company with a £35 million annual turnover.
The report’s authors give a number of reasons for opting to use a LATC, including that a “company would be able to use the reputation and brand of Croydon Council”, and that it “allows the opportunity to test the commercial value of services and for the Company to develop its commercial skills”.
The report appears to place a time limit on the period when the LATC might trade with its profits going to Council services, saying, “The Council would continue to have an influence on the use of surpluses and future strategic direction of the Company in the short to medium term” (Inside Croydon‘s italics).
Given Croydon’s recent difficulties over tenders for some services, the report sees the creation of the LATC as being advantageous because “there would be no requirement to tender services in the first instance”.
But the bottom line, in every sense, is another drive to cut the Council’s staffing costs: “It generates significant savings for the Council in the medium term, reduces the Council staffing establishment and corporate overheads.”
According to a Council statement, the move to LATC would see “day services and a tailored employment facility for people with learning disabilities, along with an equipment provider for vulnerable people with mobility problems could be revolutionised.
“For the first time, because they are part of a LATC…” these services “…would potentially be available to anyone who wanted them – and not restricted to only those that meet strict eligibility criteria.”