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Company could run services at Telford & Wrekin Council

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The possibility of a private company running services in Telford & Wrekin has reared its head as the borough council looks to cushion the blow of cutbacks.

Telford & Wrekin Council has advertised for a commercial enterprise manager on a salary of up to £58,471. And one of the possibilities the new manager will be expected to look at is the setting up of a council-owned private company.

That company would run services at a profit, which would then be ploughed back into the borough.

Shropshire Council has come under fierce criticism from union leaders and opposition councillors after it set up a similar enterprise, IP&E Group (Inspiring Partnerships & Enterprise).

Telford & Wrekin Council's managing director Richard Partington said: "We are looking at identifying new income streams to reduce our dependence on government funding.

"To maximise the opportunities available, we are recruiting to the post of commercial enterprise manager. This post will be funded for one year, with the expectation that after that it will become self-funding.

"We are obviously still in the early stages of looking into these issues and the creation of a company is just one option that the postholder will look at."

He said the new manager would also need to make the services the council 'sells' more competitive and increase the number of customers, identify new ways of bringing in money to protect services and reduce the dependency on Government grants.

Mr Partington added: "If a council undertakes activities for a largely commercial purpose then the law is clear that the authority must undertake this activity through a company.

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"The model we envisage would be a company that is owned, controlled and supported by the council and would just be a way of operating to deliver these income-generating approaches – it would be very much a part of the council and would be run in accordance with our values.

"Any 'profit' from the company would be fed into the council to fund our public services."

The closing date for applications is Tuesday, October 2.

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