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Environmental Health Outsourcing Under Scrutiny
Newly elected North Tyneside Mayor Norma Redfearn has promised to review the recent decision to outsource the council’s Environmental Health service. Planning, Environmental Health and Licensing staff were transferred to Capita Symonds in November as part of a deal worth £152 million over the next 14 years. Ms Redfearn made her pledge to look again at the situation as part of her electoral campaign, she does however admit that the contract may still have to be honoured.
The news comes just days after the London Borough of Barnet was cleared by the High Court to continue with its £320 million outsourcing programme which includes its regulatory services functions. The request for a judicial review was led by resident Maria Nash who claimed the council had failed to adequately consult or carry out a proper equalities impact assessment. Barnet Alliance for Public Services an independent pressure group had voiced concerns over the effect of outsourcing services related to Public Health. Co-ordinator Tirza Waisel said “ they are exposing our very health to risk. It is a big issue if Environmental Health Officers are employed for profit.” The Council’s Deputy Leader Daniel Thomas stood by the decision saying “ In practice this will mean that we will be the only council actually investing in, and growing, services such as Environmental Health while other councils cut theirs.”