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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Return to Lincolnshire Procurement and Forced Privatisation

I see that there are developments following the Lincolnshire Libraries judicial review.  Lincolnshire County Council are now saying they are required to carry out a procurement exercise for a privatised library service. 

I assume that their logic derives from the Judge's view that Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) is a "relevant body" under the Localism Act.  I thought this sounded a bit odd when I first read it, and I still do.  GLL is to my mind a kind of social enterprise, but that does not mean that they are not a hard nosed commercial organisation.  The unions in their native heath of Greenwich don't seem to regard them as light and fluffy in the way people often think social enterprises are.   Indeed since they have a big chunk of the London market for managing leisure centres, we can assume that they are pretty commercially focused.  It sounds to me that a back door may have been opened by the Localism Act to forcing privatisation of Council services as GLL is being treated as a kind of community group when in reality it is not. 

This could be yet another source of burdens for Councils that are already struggling.

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