Worthing Borough Council probably faces another five years of difficult finances and once again 2015 may well not be a happy one. The private world is increasingly turning to freelances to perform tasks formerly done by professionals to ease costs. The prime example is ‘Uber’ invading taxi drivers’ hallowed territory. Are there lessons for Worthing Borough Council?
Uber started life in San Francisco offering a premium taxi service through a smart phone application (app) used to request rides. The service mushroomed to use any qualified driver, with an acceptable vehicle, freelancing, and offering lower fares. Uber is now available in 53 countries and expected sales of more than $1 billion in 2014. Taxi drivers are not amused and the app service has been banned in Holland, France and Spain. In the UK Uber is available in London, Manchester and Leeds. We are sure that if it comes to Worthing our local taxi drivers will also not be amused. How would Worthing Borough Council react – in support of the traditional local taxi drivers they licence or welcoming a new freelancing world?
Another USA freelancing service that has arrived in the UK is Handy.com which provides cleaning services – closer this time as it’s available in Brighton. Handy also provides handyman services including furniture assembly, interior painting, light fixtures, moving help and plumbing. There are many more examples.
So how can Worthing Borough Council benefit from freelancing services? Private companies are ditching their in-house services and are employing freelancers on an ‘as and when’ basis. Worthing Borough Council last year went the other way with parks and green spaces and ‘off-street’ parking – bringing the services ‘in-house’.
But how about some of the council back office functions? Legal services are a favourite choice for freelancing by private businesses and accounts and IT are worth a look. Hopefully savings can be made without the need to cut front line services.
Perhaps you have other suggestions or wish to comment – please let us know.
In the meantime we wish all our readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year and thank you for all your support in 2014. We are most grateful.