Fragmentation of the Local Government Workforce

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2004 Local Government Service Group Conference
27 February 2004
Carried as Amended

Local government in the last few years has witnessed some key changes in how services are being delivered.

Best Value has forced local authorities to review each of their services. Many have remained in-house but many have used the opportunity to transfer services to different providers. Large scale transfers have been witnessed in Lincolnshire, Blackburn and Liverpool with private companies providing many of those authorities core administration and financial services.

We have seen the beginnings of the transfer of housing stocks, housing associations and the creation of arms length companies beginning to turn into a flood now the Government has announced its Blue Skies review.

Beyond Best Value, we are also faced with transfers to quangos such as CAFCASS (Courts and Family Advice Service), National Care Standards and some not so new such as Ofsted. Transfers between health and social services have taken place in the learning disabilities and mental health fields, childcare trusts are the next danger. In education the local management of schools has been interpreted by a growing number of authorities in such a way as to threaten collective bargaining at a local level.

Probation staff are already looking at ways of organising in branches, as they do not feel part of local branch structures.

In addition to this branches are, rightly asked to organise in the voluntary, further education and independent sector but without any real discussion on how we service or organise those members. Conference affirms that, in the vast majority of cases outside of local authorities, the most democratic structure for all members is still on a geographical rather than employer basis

This Conference fully supports the campaigning required to oppose the transfer of jobs to other sectors but acknowledges the need to have a dialogue that looks at branch structures and how members in these sectors can contribute to UNISON in an effective way. We therefore instruct the Service Group Executive to conduct a wide-ranging discussion with branches and regions on branch and regional structures and report to Service Group Conference 2005.