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Norwich City Council scotches India job switch idea

Norwich City Council leaders say they have no intention of following the lead of Birmingham City Council by offshoring jobs to India.

Norwich City Council leaders say they have no intention of following the lead of Birmingham City Council by offshoring jobs to India.

EDP pics © 2007

Council leaders have reassured staff in Norwich they have no plans to outsource council jobs abroad, after a local authority became the first in the country to move jobs to India.

Birmingham City Council sparked fury among unions when the Conservative-led authority announced it planned to “export” 100 computer jobs to India.

Leaders at union Unite reacted angrily to the move, which affects people working in a joint venture between management firm Capita and Birmingham City Council.

Peter Allensen, Unite’s national officer said he feared other local councils could follow suit.

He said: “We fear this could be just the tip of the iceberg and other councils could follow suit. Thousands of public sector jobs could go.”

Outsourcing to India is not a novel concept in Norwich, with Norwich Union (now Aviva) having moved hundreds of jobs to India over the past decade.

But councils said they had no immediate plans to follow suit, although Derrick Murphy, the leader of Norfolk County Council was pragmatic about the possibility in the future.

Mr Murphy said: “It’s not on our radar at the moment. It is not something that we have thought of doing, but we will look at anything and everything that will offer value for money for the Norfolk taxpayer.

“It’s interesting what Mark Bee said when he became leader of Suffolk County Council, that he would not be driven by ideology but by pragmatism, because that is our approach.

“But what I would say is the the IT department at the county council is first rate and have helped deliver the successful bid for Broadband money. It’s a department which we are very proud of.”

Alan Waters, deputy leader of Norwich City Council and cabinet member for resources, performance and shared services, said the city council would not go down that route.

He said: “It’s a bad thing and it would take jobs out of the local economy as well as being questionable in terms of effective customer service.

“The important thing for us is to play our part in preserving jobs in the city and helping other companies do the same.”

• Do you think councils should be offshoring jobs to India? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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