Public Services

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2006 National Delegate Conference
28 February 2006
Carried as Amended

The government’s reform agenda for public services is being rolled out at an alarming rate and will radically and irreversibly change the provision and management of public services.

Issues and proposals of concern include:

1)in health:

a)proposals to re-organise strategic health authorities and fundamentally primary care trusts (PCTs) as part of ‘Commissioning a Patient led NHS’. This is to ensure that PCTs become much more commissioners of services rather than providers;

b)the proposals to reform community health and care services which will allow private companies to run GP practices in deprived areas short of doctors and surgeries to be built under a modified form of private finance initiative (PFI);

c)the requirement for National Health Service trusts to eradicate financial deficits has resulted in cuts of £750 million in the current financial year;

d)the proposal for all trusts, including ambulance trusts, to achieve foundation status;

2)in education, the conditions attached to the Building Schools for the Future programme, promotion of academies and proposals in the Education White Paper for trust schools and a reduced role for local education authorities;

3)the proposal to introduce commissioning and contestability into the probation service and an expanding private sector involvement in building and operating prisons;

4)in local government, budgetary pressures, the requirement to deliver two and a half per cent year on year efficiency savings, and to deliver best value are resulting in increased focus on procurement and consideration of alternative providers of services such as arms length companies.

The Labour government has embraced the neo-liberal agenda and is promoting and seeking to extend this within Europe, through the European Union Services Directive and globally through General Agreement on Trade in Services.

Co-operation between trade unions, MPs and other activists has resulted in some concessions, but the modernisation agenda based on neo-liberal principles is basically unchallenged.

Conference recognises the next period of this Labour government could result in fundamental change and restructuring of public services.


i)welcomes the relaunch of the Positively Public campaign and the emphasis on establishing an alternative agenda for public service provision based on principles of democratic accountability, direct provision and social justice;

ii)calls for a co-ordinated cross service group campaign strategy at national, regional and local level which challenges the neo-liberal agenda and develops and promotes an alternative;

iii)supports the establishing of local and regional campaigns to defend public services from cuts and privatisation;

iv)encourages branches to establish alliances with community and user groups, and other trade unions, to defend services and promote an alternative agenda;

v)recognises a commitment to action including lobbies, rallies, demonstrations and lawful industrial action to defend jobs and services and oppose privatisation is essential at all levels and should be central to the campaign strategy;

vi)encourages branches and regions to twin with trade union bodies in Europe and participate in European activity to strengthen the global opposition in neo-liberalism.