Suffolk County Council has announced plans to outsource nearly all of its services, immediately drawing the ire of unions.

Under a plan entitled ‘NewStrategicDirection’, Suffolk wants to cut around 30 percent of its £1.1 billion annual budget, the BBC reported. It said it wanted to "reduce its size, cost and bureaucracy and build community capacity to enable Suffolk citizens to take greater control of their lives".

Other reports go further, suggesting the council’s staff could be slashed from 27,000 to only 500 employees. Some services will be outsourced this year, with others starting in three phases from April next year.

No specific information is available yet on the IT function, other than it being mentioned in a strategy document as one of many key services currently provided by the council. But IT is unlikely to escape the changes unscathed as the cuts listed so far range right across functions.

Suffolk County Council did not immediately return Computerworld UK’s calls asking for more details.

Public sector trade union Unison reacted angrily to the news, telling the BBC that Suffolk had taken the decision “to leap headlong into this gamble with services and jobs".

Helen Muddock, Suffolk branch secretary at the union, said: "Over the following weeks and months we will be working to protect services we all value within our community and the jobs delivering them to the old, young and the vulnerable.

"Today's decision amounts to a blank cheque given to the administration of Suffolk County Council to dismantle local public services as we know it."