“Easy Council” No Frills Public Services?

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2010 Local Government Service Group Conference
17 February 2010
Carried as Amended

Conference notes:

The recent policy by the Government to encourage Local Authorities to be the lead in commissioning all public services (“place shaping”) in a local area. This is in the context of all the major parties approving the privatisation of public services and the ongoing economic crisis with calls from all the major parties to finance the Government debt through cuts in the public sector.

The reports of Barnet Council following an “Easyjet” model of service delivery, resulting in the council being dubbed “Easycouncil”

Conference believes:

1)The failure of the banks demonstrates again the failure of effective regulatory mechanisms.

2)The ‘positively public’ policy of our union to keep public services public is vindicated.

3)We are in a situation which makes it easier than ever to argue to keep our public services public.

4)The Easyjet and Ryanair models of service delivery are not appropriate for delivering public services as they enshrine inequality into the delivery of public services.

5)Privatisation not only put members’ terms and conditions under threat, but is also the principle direct threat to our national pay bargaining structures.

6)Even public-public shared services may undermine national bargaining unless we develop models to protect our members.

Therefore Conference calls on the union to :

a)Produce branch guidance on campaigning, organising and bargaining around Total Place.

b)Issue advice and guidance to branches and regions on the use of workforce secondment models and TUPE Plus , where these may be in the best interests of members as an alternative when staff transfers are proposed.

c)Ensure that UNISON’s campaign to stop privatisation is not undermined by the need to maintain working relationships with private sector providers and that UNISON’s priority remains to stop the transfer of services out of Local Government employment.

d)Work with branches and regions to research; monitor, analyse, and publicise the development of Total Place and the potential impact on UNISON members and service delivery.


e)Run a national branch seminar to synthesise existing experiences of branch campaign strategies in response to Total Place & shared services.

f)Continue to promote the value of joint working between public sector bodies.

g)To develop branch guidance, based on actual branch experience, on maintaining strong collective bargaining in public-public collaborations.

This Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:

i)Continue to campaign against outsourcing in local government, and for the positive alternative of directly provided services, with high quality employment, pay and conditions

ii)Organise regional briefings to ensure local government branches are up-to-date with evolving trends and can develop effective strategies for organising and bargaining to protect jobs, pay and conditions

iii)Research and expose erosion of terms and conditions of transferred staff, and private contractor profiteering, at a time of public sector cuts

iv)Work with Labour Link and other organisations to promote to national and local politicians the benefits of directly provided Local Government services

v)Support regions in developing strategies for tackling large-scale privatisation and shared-services proposals in local authorities

vi)Prepare guidance for branches on examining strategic business cases

vii)Press the Information Commissioner to address complaints about failure to make business plans available

viii)Examine proposals to limit the ‘leakage’ of public money to private profit

ix)Develop an early warning system to alert regions and branches of new contract notices