THE public is to get a say on proposals that could see private companies, volunteers and even other local authorities take over some public services in York in the council's drive to transform the way it delivers services in the city.
Yesterday, the City of York Council's cabinet heard a report on the "Rewiring Public Services" project, and agreed proposals for the next stage of the scheme which will involve staff and residents engagement projects between July and September this year.
The cabinet also heard from the Unison representative Heather Mackenzie, who said union members at the council were concerned about the use of mutuals and wholly owned companies to run council services, and urged the cabinet not to ignore the ready made effective network of employees that their membership could provide.
She argued that the council should see providing quality services in-house as the best option, and warned there was a danger that private or volunteer organisations would not stand the test of time and would leave the council to pick up the pieces once they failed.
The union also raised concerns about the drive to provide more council services online and the way that could leave vulnerable people unable to get the help they need.
But Cllr Daffyd Williams, the cabinet member responsible, said he fully accepted the concerns about digital services for some parts of the community, but said the council needed to allow and help people to get council services online.
The meeting also saw the early stages of plans to redevelop the Burnholme College site into a "Health and Wellbeing Hub" approved, and the next phase of Reinvigorate York given the formal go ahead.
On the Burnholme plans, Cllr Williams responded to questions from Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters about plans to build on green space at the site saying: "Building on the playing fields is not being proposed, and any suggestions that it is is simply scaremongering."
Cabinet members agreed to let officials to look for an outside company to manage the Burnholme project, and approved over-all plans for a £270,000 project to improve the bus interchange near the Theatre Royal and Exhibition Square.
Cabinet members rubber stamped the proposals, but heard that final decisions on design and cost will be taken by senior officials and Cllr David Levene, who as cabinet member for transport is responsible for the project.