Positively Public briefing July 2002 by dfhrf555fcg

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									                                                                                                    January 2008




Campaign News                                           1   computer services to achieve efficiency gains. This
PPPs not up to scratch!                                 2   policy is creating a shift from books and traditional
Competition harms the NHS                               2   services to interactive resources. Yet the government
UNISON wins break-through pay deal                      3   has declared 2008 the „National Year of Reading‟ to
Privatisation Problems                                  4   boost the popularity of reading.


Campaign News                                               A recent survey has revealed that the public library
Library services are under threat                           service is still very popular and valued by local
Libraries across the country are under threat because       communities. UNISON believes that the public library
they are not adequately funded. This has led to library     service is essential to community cohesion and
closures and cuts to jobs, services and book stock.         educational achievement, not another privatisation
                                                            opportunity. UNISON‟s „Defend the Public Library
In 2006, 107 libraries across the UK were threatened        Service‟ is calling for the public library service to be
with closure due to funding problems. Over the past         adequately funded and publicly provided. For more
twelve months, 40 libraries have closed with more           information visit:
threatened with closure or cuts to services and jobs.       http://www.unison.org.uk/localgov/library.asp
                                                            NHS needs more cleaners
In Dudley, the council announced plans last November        UNISON has called on ministers to bring back hospital
to close five libraries, despite a local campaign to save   cleaners, whose number has almost halved in the past
them. Waltham Forest in London cut its book stocks          20 years. UNISON believes that more cleaners on the
by nearly 240,000. In Kent, the council plans to cut 77     wards would reassure the public and help eradicate
jobs. And in Croydon, the library budget has been cut       hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and
by nearly £12,000, leaving the council with limited         c.difficile.
funding for new books.
                                                            UNISON has welcomed the „deep clean‟ initiative
This month campaigners in Hampshire have protested          announced last year but this should be used to kick-
against plans to cut library opening hours by an            start better day-to-day cleaning of hospital wards and
average of nine and a half hours a week. The protest        departments. And to achieve cleaner hospitals the
follows a UNISON petition of 10,000 signatures              government needs to set recruitment targets for NHS
against proposals to axe 27 jobs and force pay cuts on      cleaners.
other library staff in Hampshire.
                                                            UNISON‟s head of health Karen Jennings said: “We
The library service is under threat of privatisation        are calling for a meeting between health ministers,
because tighter resourcing for local government has         UNISON and hospital cleaners to give them an insight
put pressure on library budgets. The service is also        into hospital cleaning on the front line.” She added
undergoing change because government reforms focus          that: “The government has looked at the dangers of
on improving services to include more interactive           hospital-acquired infections from all angles except for

campaigning for quality public services                             POSITIVELY PUBLIC BRIEFING                  1
Positively Public Briefing                                                                  January 2008


employing more cleaners. A recruitment drive with          The Scottish Government has recently published a
government targets would speed up the urgently-            consultation paper on the role of a Scottish Futures
needed return of cleaners to our hospitals, so that        Trust (SFT) in infrastructure investment, which is
patients and the public see for themselves cleaner,        being promoted as an alternative to PFI.
safer wards.”
More information on UNISON‟s cleaner hospitals             The consultation admits that PFI schemes are
campaign from:                                             „expensive‟ and views the private sector equity returns
http://www.unison.org.uk/healthcare/cleanerhospitals/      as „excessive‟. The Scottish government proposes that
Privatisation News                                         the SFT will be a real alternative to PFI. It claims that
In house can beat PPPs                                     the Trust which will run PFI schemes will provide
It‟s official! The Audit Commission says that councils     lower cost funding using non-profit distributing
should consider reforming in-house provision or            principles. Although most current PFI schemes will go
public-public partnering rather than pursuing large        ahead, the non-profit distributing model will be
scale Public Private Partnerships (PPP).                   favoured for all new projects.


A scathing report that reviews council PPPs for            UNISON Scotland has produced a briefing which
services such as IT, human resources, finance,             outlines our opposition to the proposals. UNISON
administrative and customer services, property and         believes that non-profit distributing models are not a
procurement concludes that they often fail to live up      real alternative to PFI schemes because they retain
to their expectations. One in five of the PPPs in the      higher borrowing costs; private profit is still taken out
study were actually terminated “because anticipated        of public services at the contractor level and the risk
benefits had not materialised.”                            transfer costs still apply, all leading to the same
                                                           inflexibility inherent in PFI.
The report found that most benefits were delivered at      To download UNISON‟s briefing visit:
the outset with unproven long term advantages; that        http://www.unison-
councils lacked the expertise to obtain value for          scotland.org.uk/briefings/briefingsft178.pdf
money or secure more than basic core benefits.             Competition not good for the NHS
                                                           Two recent reports warn that NHS marketisation
It also noted that in the private sector, 60-70% of        reforms are leading to fragmentation of services and
similar partnership arrangements between companies         poorer quality of care.
fail and few met expectations. So this is not just about
public sector abilities.                                   The first report written by Professor Ham at
                                                           Birmingham‟s University for the Nuffield Trust health
The Audit Commission concludes that: "Some councils        warns that: “NHS reforms which focus on NHS
have relied unduly on the language or spirit of            hospitals, foundation trusts and the private sector to
partnership, believing erroneously that contractors        compete for individual operations and diagnostic
would pursue shared goals without incentives to do         procedure treatments was the „wrong sort‟. And, that
so." The report “For Better, for Worse: Value for          services should be building the integrated clinical
Money in Strategic Service-delivery Partnerships” can      networks needed to treat a growing number of
be found at: http://www.audit-                             patients with chronic disease.”
commission.gov.uk/reports/NATIONAL-
REPORT.asp?CategoryID=&ProdID=2EC60F18-BDC2-4faf-          Prof Ham said: “This type of competition that the
98AC-                                                      NHS is adopting „risks fragmenting services for
2E495B8B6CBD&fromREPORTSANDDATA=NATIONAL-                  patients. But increasingly, older patients have multiple
REPORT                                                     or complex conditions that require treatment by
An Alternative to PFI in Scotland?                         integrated system of specialists, not treatment as a
UNISON campaigning for world class public services                                                         2
Positively Public Briefing                                                                     January 2008


series of discrete, fragmented, problems.” The report           estimated that in 2006, these fees cost the public
„Clinically integrated systems: the next step in English        sector £6m.
health reform?‟ is available from:
http://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/publications/detail.asp?id=0&   The report noted that while changes to long-term PFI
PRid=314                                                        contracts were inevitable, value for money is often
                                                                poor compared with traditional procurement. In one
The second report by the NHS Alliance also warns of             example, the private sector consortium charged £302
the „wrong sort‟ of competition which is                        to fit an electrical socket and £487 to supply and fit a
compromising patient care due to a lack of integrated           lock.
services. However, both reports do not fully oppose
competition, but point to the need for more                     The NAO report says that millions of pounds could
integrated working within the NHS. You can                      have been saved through the tendering process, yet
download the NHS Alliance report: „Integrated                   many changes to schemes, including those costing
healthcare services – the future of commissioning and           more than £100,000 were not tendered. For example,
provision of out of hospital healthcare in the NHS‟             the £25m extension at HM Prison Altcourse and
from:                                                           £22.9m expansion of Hexham General Hospital were
http://www.nhsalliance.org/media.asp?display=press_re           not competitively tendered.
lease&press_release_id=342
                                                                The report makes recommendations to improve
In 2007, UNISON published a report detailing the                operational PFI contracts.
detrimental impact of NHS marketisation reforms on
patients, staff and services, which are becoming more           To download the report: „Making Changes in
and more fragmented. The report explains why the                Operational PFI Projects‟ visit:
reforms undermine the key principles of the NHS and             http://www.nao.org.uk/pn/07-08/0708205.htm
warns that increasing competition within the health             Two Tier Workforce
service will put models of collaborative working at risk        UNISON staff triumph over pay deal
and undermine continuity of patient care. You can               More than five hundred UNISON members are
download the report: „In the Interests of Patients – the        celebrating victory over a break-through pay deal
impact of the creation of a commercial market in the            bringing private contract workers onto full NHS
provision of NHS Care‟ from:                                    Agenda for Change pay and conditions.
http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/16299.pdf
PFI contracts are poor value for money                          Porters, cleaners and kitchen workers at
A new report, published this month by the National              Wythenshawe and Withington Hospitals, run by the
Audit Office (NAO) reveals that making changes to               University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Trust,
PFI contracts costs the taxpayer millions of pounds.            had threatened a walk-out in December over a pay
                                                                dispute with private contractor Sodexho. A ballot on
The report found that £180m of taxpayers‟ money                 strike action resulted in a 98% YES vote. The campaign
was spent on changes to many of the 500 PFI deals in            led to a boost in union membership, with density
2007. This is despite the fact that 82% of changes to           figures rising from 66% at the outset to 94%.
PFI projects were small.
                                                                UNISON argued that Sodexho had failed to honour
The NAO criticises the private sector for charging              terms set out in Agenda for Change, and supposed to
„unjustified‟ extra management fees, often as high as           be implemented in October 2006. This meant workers
10%, on top of the charges made by the service                  employed by Sodexho were being paid less than those
providers to cover their overheads and profit. It is            employed directly by the NHS, creating a two-tier
                                                                workforce.
UNISON campaigning for world class public services                                                              3
Positively Public Briefing                                                                January 2008


The new pay deal, which was negotiated with the help       Despite the controversy surrounding the management
of the Advisory and Conciliation Service (ACAS), will      of private prisons, the government recently announced
increase hourly rates from £5.88 an hour to £6.43,         plans for three new super-prisons.
backdated to October 2006, and provide additional          ICT contract failures
holidays, improved overtime rates and a better             A recent study shows that more than one hundred
sickness scheme; though some issues still to be            outsourced public sector ICT contracts have failed
resolved include overtime rates and unsocial hours‟        due to delays, cost overruns and terminations over
payments.                                                  the past ten years.

In 2006 UNISON submitted evidence to the Low Pay           The report identifies 105 outsourced public sector
Commission highlighting the difficulties faced by low      ICT contracts in central government, NHS, local
paid Sodexho workers at the Wythenshawe Hospital.          authorities, public bodies and agencies with significant
The study by Vincent Pattison, a University of             cost overruns, delays and terminations with a £29.5bn
Manchester PhD student, found that the workers‟            contract value. The study found that 57% of contracts
hourly wage of £5.88 an hour was insufficient to cover     experienced cost overruns amounting to £9bn; 33% of
their basic living costs. Attempting to afford even the    contracts suffered major delays; 30% of contracts
basic necessities was described as „a constant battle‟,    were terminated and 12.5% of Strategic Service
„soul destroying‟ and „an uphill struggle‟. (The full      Delivery Partnerships have failed.
report can be found at:
http://www.unison.org.uk/file/Vincent%20Pattison%20-       The main contractors with significant cost overruns,
-%20Unison%20Low%20Pay%20Submission.doc                    delays and terminations were EDS and Liberata,
Privatisation Failures                                     closely followed by Fujitsu and IBM. The contractor
Public prisons outperform the private                      EDS for example, had underperformed on its ICT
sector                                                     project for the Child Support Agency. However,
Privately-run prisons perform worse than those run by      despite the failings of ICT contracts, the report shows
the public sector, according to a new league table.        that profit levels of private contractors remain
                                                           relatively high. For example, a National Audit Office
The Prison Service internal league table, leaked to the    (NAO) report in 2006 showed that the profit margin
BBC, ranks all prisons in England and Wales in six         of EDS is between 12.5% -26.5% and that of Fujitsu is
performance categories. It reveals that most privately-    12.97%.
managed prisons rate poorly on security and
maintaining order and control. It showed that 10 of        UNISON has campaigned against the high costs and
the 11 privately-run prisons were in the bottom            failures of privatisation and its impact on public service
quarter. They include privately run Peterborough           delivery. For more visit:
Prison, which came last of 132 prisons, with low           http://www.unison.org.uk/positivelypublic/marketisatio
performance for reducing re-offending, organisational      n.asp
effectiveness and decency.                                 The report by the European Services Strategy Unit:
                                                           „Cost overruns, delays and terminations‟ can be
The paper has called into question the government‟s        downloaded from:
policy on involving the private sector in the running of   http://www.european-services-strategy.org.uk/news/cost-
prisons. And, the Prison Governors Association has         overruns-delays-and-terminations-in-105-o/
called on the government to re-think this policy.

  For further information on privatisation and campaigning against it go to:
  www.unison.org.uk/positivelypublic
  Positively Public Campaign Tel: 0207 551 1759 email: Positivelypublic@unison.co.uk

UNISON campaigning for world class public services                                                          4

								
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