Concerns raised over call centre bid

IPSWICH: Borough bosses are to press ahead with a proposed call centre which could affect the jobs of dozens of staff - despite claims that the decision is potentially illegal.

IPSWICH: Borough bosses are to press ahead with a proposed call centre which could affect the jobs of dozens of staff - despite claims that the decision is potentially illegal.

The executive had voted to accept the recommendation of consultants Northgate Kendrick Ash that a call centre should be created in the council's Grafton House headquarters.

It will handle all calls to the borough and will mean officers will not have to deal with the public as part of their normal work.

The call centre would employ up to 20 staff, but between 35 and 40 jobs could be lost.


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Reviewing the decision, the council's overview and scrutiny committee this week was told that no redundancy costs had been included in the plans and no costs had been set aside to provide “a suitable working environment” in the call centre.

Labour leader David Ellesmere said secret papers had been excluded from the report to the executive which he claimed made the original decision potentially illegal and open to judicial review.

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Mr Ellesmere has challenged the council's leadership to come clean on the number of jobs which will be affected.

“This is a major project that has been cloaked in secrecy,” he said. “Members of the public are being kept in the dark about what is being planned, how many jobs are going to be lost and how much it is going to cost.”

However, council leader Liz Harsant said that the overview and scrutiny committee rejected the claim that the executive had not had enough information to reach a decision.

“After long discussion the only issue that was referred back to the executive for consideration was whether all the papers used in preparing the report had been included in the index,” she said.

“Legal advice confirms that this does not affect the decision made and the executive will be asked next week to press ahead with this project, which will improve the way we deal with the public and save money for the council tax-payer.”

Should the call centre get the go ahead? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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