Social Enterprises

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2007 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 April 2007

This Conference rejects the model of service provision encapsulated in the Social Enterprise concept and reaffirms its opposition to Social or Community Enterprises taking over NHS services and staff.

Despite our opposition, the government has established a Social Enterprise Unit within the Dept of Health, and is promoting the setting up of such bodies to run NHS services. Some members may be persuaded that transferring to a social or community enterprise is not as bad as outright privatisation and a way of keeping their NHS terms and conditions as opposed to the problematic or emotive issues involved in TUPEing staff to a private organisation.

We are clear this is premature as many employment issues have yet to be sorted (e.g. pensions) and indeed is an expediency to get the spending off the public sector balance sheet.

The short/medium term danger is clear in that the commissioners (PCT’s) will save no money and will pressurise the provider to deliver savings and ultimately put the service up for tender, leading to the multi-nationals e.g. United Health etc, swallowing up these services.

We reiterate our belief that PCT provider services should remain part of the NHS family to ensure the maintenance of high quality services.

We instruct the Service Group Executive to:

1)Produce information and materials on the Social Enterprise Model for branches which explain clearly what social or community enterprises are and why they should be resisted.

2)Support campaigns, branches and members in resisting the setting up of and/or transfer of members and services to social or community enterprises, including supporting them in taking industrial action within UNISON’s rules.

3)Publicise any useful information from branches which have had to participate in transferring staff to social or community enterprises and/or which have been able to resist such transfers.