Continuing the fight against privatisation

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Conference
2013 Police & Justice Conference
Date
15 May 2013
Decision
Carried as Amended

Conference congratulates and applauds the actions of branches, branch officers, regions, the Police and Justice Service Group Executive, its committees and staff in opposing privatisation across the Police and Probation Services in 2012. Campaigning against privatisation does work and public opinion is on our side and not on the side of the privateers in government.

Conference acknowledges the campaigning work of branches in particular:

1)In Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire the three branches commissioned a joint report from the Association of Public Sector Excellence (APSE).The branches wanted to utilise the expertise of APSE to analyse the forces’ privatisation proposals in order to challenge the business case for privatisation. The branches also commissioned attendance at the crucial police authority meetings by an APSE representative to present their expert opinions. The UNISON members lobbied their police authorities, the branches launched ‘e-petition’s’, took the petition to the streets of the three counties and secured excellent local press, radio and TV coverage. This campaign had a substantial influence on the respective forces and helped persuade them not to sign up to the three-force privatisation proposals under the Lincolnshire Police G4S contract.

2)In the West Midlands the branch engaged with the public through a petition taken out onto the streets to shame the West Midlands Police Authority over its non-existent public consultation policy. They worked with Labour Link and West Midlands MPs and members of the Police Authority to challenge the proposals at every key meeting and won the public relations battle via the media. An effective alliance was forged with Unite to carry the fight to the force and police authority. The branch worked with the region, Service Group and the media to ensure the campaign to oppose the disastrous Business Partnering Proposals forced on the police service by the Home Office was at the forefront of the public’s mind.

Campaign initiatives launched to oppose the attacks on police and justice services include:

a)The Service Group Executives ‘Stop Police Privatisation’ and Stop Privatising Probation campaigns;

b)Service Group research into police privatisation with its dedicated web-site, campaign materials and briefings, opinion polling and resources for branches and regions

c)the Service Group’s efforts to extract key information from the Home Office, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice, under Freedom of Information, in relation to privatisation proposals for the Police and Probation Services;

d)UNISON evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Committee highlighting the dangers of the government’s privatisation proposals for the Probation Service particularly in relation to Community Payback;

e)UNISON work with the Local Government Information Unit to promote public partnerships for Probation as an alternative to the government’s privatisation mantra.

f)Coverage of the union’s campaign on national and regional TV and in all key UNISON publications;

g)the mainstreaming of the ‘Stop Police Privatisation’ campaign in UNISON’s work with Labour Link in the run up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections;

h)Dedicated procurement training for branches and regions, tailored to specific outsourcing proposals;

Conference believes that direct employment within the public sector with nationally agreed terms and conditions remain the best option for our members and outsourcing will never be of benefit to our members.

There is no evidence that the private sector provide value for money.

Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

i)continue to provide support, guidance and assistance to police and probation branches faced with privatisation threats;

ii)ensure local branch campaigns are integrated into a national campaign;

iii)continue to oppose privatisation in the Police and Probation Service, by supporting branches facing privatisation locally and by seeking to persuade other police and probation stakeholders of the dangers of privatisation

iv)maximise publicity to ensure the public and our members are aware of the consequences of privatisation to their police and probation service;

v)seek to influence and work with all Police and Crime Commissioners in relation to the stop police privatisation campaign to ensure privatisation is permanently off the agenda.

vi)develop and expand the ‘Stop Police Privatisation’ and ‘Stop Privatising Probation’ campaigns so that we can continue to respond to the challenges of privatisation in the future.