Union criticises voluntary contract decision

A UNION has criticised the handling of a decision which will see voluntary organisations with years of experience lose a key contract.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 3:55 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:20 am
Adur and Worthing voluntary service staff criticise decision which will see council break long-standing ties with the organisations in favour of employing the services of a Brighton company. Jaqui Ball, chair of Voluntary Action Worthing (front), joined by Staff, trustees and volunteers. Pic Steve Robards SR1601056

Adur and Worthing councils chose Brighton Community Works to operate a new joint voluntary services contract, following a procurement process.

The decision means Adur Voluntary Action and Voluntary Action Worthing will lose their major funding stream.

Unison branch negotiations officer James Ellis said delays in the process are now threatening job security for staff set to transfer to the new operator.

He said: “April 1 has still not been confirmed as the date of transfer due to funding uncertainty.

“If the transfer does not go ahead on time, our members are potentially at risk of redundancy because the funding to Adur Voluntary Action and Voluntary Action Worthing ceases on March 31.

“It is a complete mess, and one very much of Adur and Worthing councils’ making.”

A councils spokesman said the authorities were awaiting funding confirmation from West Sussex County Council, which part-finances the service.

He said: “There have been delays with the new community infrastructure support contract, but the councils remain focused on working with all parties to help resolve these delays and to assist staff working for Adur Voluntary Action and Voluntary Action Worthing.

“While Adur and Worthing councils have retained the same level of funding for this contract, the position for West Sussex County Council regarding their level of funding is still being worked through, in response to a challenging budget position.

“We are awaiting confirmation of their funding, which is also the case for other infrastructure bodies across West Sussex.”