HUNDREDS of Trafford Council staff face months of uncertainty as bosses take the latest step towards farming out some of its services to private firms.
An executive meeting of the authority scheduled to be held on September 1, is likely to rubber stamp plans, as part of a joint venture, and in an effort to save 20 per cent by slashing up to £3m off part of its £15.5m revenue budget.
The venture is likely to see the hiving off of services including commercial and domestic waste, street cleaning, grounds and maintenance, bridges, traffic and transportation, road safety, street lighting and furniture, drainage, green space, the Let Estate, Corporate Landlord and the major projects teams.
The changes could also impact on 'back office' staff which support these services.
The effect of the changes could see the Trafford Council workforce dropping from its current 3,500 to 3,250, because 250 staff face transfer to the new business/businesses by July 2015.
Assurances have been given by the authority for staff transferring saying they would continue on the same pay and conditions, although there was no timeframe put on it.
The joint venture initiative plan came about as a result of planned budget cuts of up to £55 million over the next three years from a total budget £133 million.
The first stage of the venture announced earlier this year involved companies submitting possible solutions to running key services and delivering minimum savings of 20 per cent, deliver future efficiency savings, provide flexibility and protect jobs and maintain service standards.
The decision on September 1, would move the authority onto the next stage, which will include consulting with community groups and getting more detailed bids from private firms.
At a press briefing, Trafford Council leader Cllr Sean Anstee said: "We have done this in a very open way. The challenge in Greater Manchester is how you can protect jobs and give some stability.
"The council recognised in the light of the continuing financial climate, that it must explore alternative options to enable it to continue providing the high standard of service our residents have come to expect."
"So far its been really, really positive and we will now move to the next stage."
Trafford Council said it would retain strategic oversight of any particular firm's performance and contracts could be ended without financial penalty to the authority.
While Trafford is leading the way, other local authorities within Greater Manchester are also looking at becoming part of the joint venture.