Suffolk: Chief executive Andrea Hill bids for business backing

SUFFOLK: County council chief Andrea Hill has told the Suffolk’s business leaders about the authority’s proposals to divest services.

A misunderstanding involving the council and the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce meant that The Evening Star was not at the meeting – although we were able to establish what happened.

Mrs Hill spoke to members of the chamber at one of their regular meetings to explain how the county is planning to implement the New Strategic Direction and explain what effect it would have.

She said that while all services at the county council were being looked at to see if they could be divested to other providers, it was clear it would not be possible for everything to be transferred to new operators.

The council believed that there may be other people who were able to provide services better and more efficiently than it was able to do itself.

She told her audience that in future it would be the role of local government to determine need and act like a “citizen advocate” to enable people to chose where they got services from.

She said the policy would reduce overheads, give control of services to local communities, and would “unlock creativity” of Suffolk people.

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Members of the chamber gave her a warm reception – and it is understood she did have a few barbed comments aimed at the media at the start of her speech.

Mrs Hill was asked if the aim of the council’s new policy was to get services taken over by charities to do the work for nothing.

She said the council did not want to stop delivering services and to get other people to deliver them for free – the majority of services the county would pay people to deliver more efficiently, although there could be a role for volunteers in some types of work.

n Are you convinced by the New Strategic Direction? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail