Oct 18 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
JOB cuts for frontline staff could be made after the council agreed to introduce new technology to create a ‘more efficient’ street cleaning service and make £1.8m of savings.
The Public Realm Integrated Services Management (PRISM) business case will see frontline staff issued with handheld devices to allow them to monitor all kinds of on-street problems such as potholes, parking enforcement, broken street lights and flytipping, which the council says will increase efficiency and deliver the best possible services to tax payers.
Union Unison claims this could lead to up to 55 redundancies.
Harrow Council’s cabinet committee was forced to reconsider the plans on Thursday last week, after the original decision of September 13 was successfully challenged by the opposition Conservatives and Unison on the grounds of ‘insufficient consideration of legal advice’.
After reviewing a fresh report on the legal implications, however, the committee approved the plans.
Harrow Council’s portfolio holder for environment, councillor Phillip O’Dell (Labour), who was not present at either cabinet meeting when the matter was discussed, said afterwards: “We are constantly looking at ways to modernise and transform the council during this very difficult financial climate so we not only improve services but deliver savings. Our vision for environmental services will not only make the council leaner and fitter – we will be increasing efficiency and delivering the best possible service.”
A Unison spokesman said: “The council’s go-ahead for the PRISM project last week defies belief and is a warning sign that there are bad times ahead for the borough’s residents in the services that they rely on.
“We once again question Cllr Phillip O’Dell’s attendance at yet a further meeting he couldn’t be bothered to attend and his commitment to his position, which was clearly shamed by the turnout of more than 60 interested staff and residents of the borough.”