A UNION fears Cheshire West and Chester Council is moving in the direction of outsourcing its services to outside organisations.

CWAC recently handed over responsibility for running leisure centres to a not-for-profit organisation.

And it has now revealed it is considering outsourcing cultural services, including libraries, museums and archive facilities, to a similar community interest company.

Youth services are already managed by arms length company Cheshire and Warrington Connexions and there is talk of drafting in charities and volunteers to run youth clubs and children’s centres.

Ray McHale, of the West Cheshire Unison branch, says outsourcing can be detrimental to his members’ working lives and lead to an inferior quality of service which is less accountable.

He said: “From our point of view it means dealing with another employer who might seek to change our members terms and conditions or, as with Connexions, they might turn around and say we have not got the money to do things so we will have to make cuts.”

Mr McHale said councils would often ‘squeeze’ the costs out of such organisations by reducing funding then disown all responsibility when such bodies were forced to take tough decisions.

However, CWAC has always denied it intends to become an ‘enabling authority’ by outsourcing all services.

In relation to the proposal to outsource cultural services, a spokeswoman said: “We are currently exploring a number of options to determine how cultural services can be delivered most effectively in the future.

“These options include establishing a community interest company, a charitable trust or other charitable organisation.”