Public services should ‘benefit society’ not ‘make a profit’

Delegates at UNISON’s disabled members’ conference today spoke out against the acceleration of outsourcing, procurement and shared services in public services.

It risks making it difficult for disabled people to get to work, is often implemented without proper consultation and lack of BSL/English interpreting services creates a barrier for deaf people.

Angela Hamilton, speaking for the national disabled members’ committee, noted that public services were there to “benefit society” not to “make a profit”.

And she spoke out against a recent CBI report that had claimed outsourcing in public services was “essential to encouraging growth and dealing with the deficit.”

But she asked delegates to remember what happens to public services when they’re outsourced: “Think of outsourced school dinners and turkey twizzlers.”

In reality she said, outsourcing could bring savings, but only by cutting services and reducing terms and conditions. And above all she said: “The whole G4S mess proves outsourcing doesn’t work.”

Delegates also condemned the use of Fit Notes to “bully disabled people back into work,” as Sheila Smart said, and demanded that they not be used to, as Margaret Maher reported “make disabled people feel guilty for being disabled.”

UNISON disabled members