WHEN Allison Ozhan was looking for a childcare centre for her youngest son, compromising on quality was not an option.
"I've had experience with privately run day care centres before, and it wasn't an option this time," the Merrylands mother said.
"My eldest son had been to the council-run centre when he was younger, and I knew how stringently regulated they are with checking nappies and with their safety and healthy food."
Mrs Ozhan's eldest son had developed sores when his nappies were not changed at a privately operated centre.
Several mothers with kids at Holroyd Children's Centre said they had chosen the service because they felt more comfortable using the council-operated day care.
Whether it is true or not that council-run services are more conscientious about quality, or maybe just a personal perception, it is a primary argument for people against the privatisation of council-run operations.
Another argument is the cost of private-sector services compared to council services, which are often non-profit or subsidised.
But some councils are running into the red to deliver services such as childcare, sports facilities, swimming pools and community centres.
In March, Local Government Minister Don Page said councils faced serious financial problems.
He said a state government review would look closely at the benefits of amalgamating Sydney's 43 local government areas.
And with the Liberal Party now in power in western Sydney councils, speculation about an agenda to streamline the organisations has grown.
Associate Professor Kevin Daly, from the University of Western Sydney's School of Business, agreed there was a strong argument for councils to share resources.
"From an economic argument there seems to be positive value for ratepayers," he said.
"Against that, obviously, is the argument against any reduction in the quality of those services."