A PUBLIC sector union is worried about the prospect of the Cheshire County Council's youth service being 'privatised'.
Unison is concerned the cash-strapped Tory administration will farm out the service to an external organisation which would include the area's Connexions service.
Connexions is the governmental careers, counselling and advice service for people aged 13-19.
This has created fears for jobs and the quality of the service that would be delivered.
Out-sourcing the service is one of the two options being considered, the other is to bring Connexions services in-house and merge them with the youth service.
Unison regional officer Keith Bradley described the out-sourcing option as 'shabby' and said there were anxieties among the 200 staff at the youth service and the 250 people at Connexions.
It is not clear whether the 125 educational welfare officers, who work for children's services, would be affected.
He said: 'Because of the £50m funding gap and their Transforming Cheshire cost-cutting programme, they are looking for the easy option, which is to privatise it.
'You could have an agency up for tender every four years leaving vulnerable children in Cheshire at risk if there was no continuity in the delivery of the service.'
Mr Bradley said the term 'privatisation' was appropriate given the organisation would be outside the control of the local authority, even if it was not-for-profit.
Mr Bradley is meeting the county's director of children's services, Joan Feenan, next month and Unison members also plan a meeting with the Community and Youth Workers' Union.
A county council spokesman said: 'Consultations are taking place. No decisions have yet been made.'