PFI Contracts

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Conference
2003 Local Government Service Group Conference
Date
18 February 2003
Decision
Carried as Amended

Conference is well aware of the Best Value regime and its rigorous requirements to Compare, Contrast, Compete and Consult.

Conference is also aware of the number of contracts and services which have been externalised, outsourced or relocated. Let’s be honest they have been privatised.

However, the rigorous examination ends when the privateers get their hands on the services.

Monitoring is, at best, a mechanistic process counting measurable units, numbers of bins collected, classrooms cleaned, meals provided.

There is no consultation with the consumers of these services and quality is not examined.

As a result the private sector is able to maintain profits by cutting terms and conditions, undermining pensions and introducing a two-tier workforce.

We know that Best Value is obtained by a well-paid workforce with secure jobs and decent terms and conditions. Remove these and moral plunges, standards nosedive and services fail to deliver properly.

If the four Cs are essential when considering retention or privatisation how much more so are they when the service has gone.

The continuation of an unregulated, unmonitored and unaccountable private sector in public service delivery cannot continue.

Conference therefore calls on the Service Group Executive to:

1)Prepare a report on privatised contract failures to support UNISON’s campaign against privatisation

2)Campaign for increased scrutiny of let contracts by Local Authority Scrutiny and Audit Committees

3)Lobby Government for legislation to impose a duty upon Local Authorities to scrutinise contracts at the end of their first, third and fifth years of existence. Should the contract run for a longer period than this the reviews should continue on a biennial basis