A series of Branch Guides which will cover all aspects of privatisation of local government service delivery.
The concept of ‘shared services’ has been used to describe a wide variety of arrangements by local authorities across the UK. Broadly, these arrangements are either ‘public-public’, or ‘public-private’. Sharing services has been seen by some local authorities as a way to limit the effect of government cuts.
Public-public arrangements can be beneficial to members and service users, and can help to secure the long term future of directly provided local authority services.
Public-private shared services pose many threats to members and are often just another form of privatisation.
Much has been written and said about shared services. This guide aims to briefly highlight the key aspects and set out actions UNISON branches should take.
The pressure on local authorities to look to the private sector for the delivery of public services has intensified since the Tory-led Coalition began their programme of austerity and spending cuts. Now more than ever branches need to have a good understanding of the procurement process which leads to services being privatised.
Early branch involvement is crucial and negotiating a procurement agreement with your local authority is one way of ensuring UNISON is able to influence the process and represent the best interests of our members.
We are starting to see local authorities consider and use social impact bonds (SIBs) as a method of financing delivery of certain council services. Social impact bonds have been in development and varying use over the last few years. Potentially they can be used in each of the United Kingdom nations.
Whether SIBs are a good thing or not depends entirely on the circumstances. In short, if they are adding to council services through money guaranteed by others, they have the potential to be beneficial. If however they are simply used to move services away from the public sector and the control of the democratically elected council and into the hands of private companies, then UNISON opposes them.
The Sustainable Communities Act 2007, along with the Sustainable Communities 2007 (Amendment) Act 2010, and the Sustainable Communities Regulations 2012 represent a legislative effort to promote the sustainability of communities. The acts create a bottom-up process for local authorities and communities to seek new government actions to help local communities.
For the first time the legislation creates an obligation on the government to negotiate and try to reach agreement. The legislation could play an important role in the fight against privatisation and cuts. UNISON has supported the development of the legislation and encourages branches to use it.
The coalition government wants to see public services ‘spun out’ into staff-led mutuals and co-ops as part of their vision for ‘open public services’. It is clear that the government wants to drastically reduce ‘the state’ and see as many services as possible provided by external providers. The desire for mutuals and co-ops to be part of this landscape is outlined in their 2011 White Paper and provisions made in the Localism Act, including the Community Right to Challenge.
UNISON is very concerned at these moves which stem from an ideologically driven desire to shrink the state and cut public spending, rather than a genuine desire to maintain strong public services, empower workers and improve service quality.
There is a long and positive history of small organisations like mutuals and co-ops operating to complement public services. But this has predominantly been in niche areas through grant funding. Many have struggled to survive in the long-term once financial and technical support has been withdrawn. Much of the coalition’s current agenda is about outsourcing mainstream public services.
The coalition have stated that where proposals for mutuals offer reduced costs or improved services they will be considered – UNISON’s concern is that most will look to reduce costs at the expense of the workforce and ‘soften up’ public services for privatisation.
This guidance has been designed for branches and aims to break through the misinformation to ensure politicians, the public, and crucially, our activists and members, understand the full implications of these models.
The Community Right to Challenge (‘the right’) came out of the Localism Act 2011 and is supplemented by statutory instruments. The purpose of the right is to open up public services to others such as ‘community organisations’. UNISON’s view is that the right is a Trojan horse for privatisation, eroding public services by the back door. It endangers in-house provision of services by removing a council’s ability control its own service provision. Any challenge by a community group represents the breakdown of the relationship between the local authority and the community it serves. Fixing that relationship requires alternative solutions.
New courses for members and stewards.
Inflation leaps to 3.2%
More regulation of gig economy needed
Appalling risk of suicides in construction
Fat cats — the great pay divide
Racist abuse after Brexit vote
Lack of diversity at top in Wales
Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.
Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.
Nottinghamshire Police have taken the bold step to identify misogyny as a hate crime and Northern UNSION are keen for this to be replicated in our region. The aim of the event is to identify how we can move the issue forward across the region with all three Police and Crime Commissioners.
Swings and scooters of inflation basket
No real improvement in weekly earnings
Cosmetic improvement with Living Wage
Zero-hours contracts at record high
Unemployment falls below 1.6 million
Agenda and annual report.
Economic forecasts in Hammond's Budget
Mixed fortunes in ethnic women's pay gap data
Company merger and acquisitions in 2016
Numbers on zero-hours contracts at a high
GMB take on DX delivery firm
Former chancellor's nice big earner
Charter to stop violence at work
Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.
Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.
A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division. 18 March 2017.
March calendar of events and activities.
Trade Union Act regs come into force
Gender pension gap leaves women short
Violence at work — the nasty truth
Bookseller's £7m salary
Money purchase pension are norm
British Gas denied appeal in Lock case
Government fails in ethnicity review
Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.
Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.
Winners in February.
Morning seminar and afternoon remembrance service in Hartlepool on Friday 28 April 2017. There is also an Eve of WMD ‘Gig’ on Thursday 27 April.
Government green paper on pensions
A 'Stern diet' for fat cat directors' pay
Employers — don't miss out on talent
Argos repays £2.4 million to 37,000 staff
Economic growth revised upwards
Work fears of disabled people revealed
Migrants have helped make Britain. It’s time to celebrate us
NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association
Councils prepare to cut essential services to fund adult social care
London transport spending equivalent to £1,500 more per head than North East
Minimum wage cheats named and shamed
Inflation hits three-year high
Unemployment at 11-year low
Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings
Migrants are always the scapegoats. But now they’re taking on Ukip’s lies
I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?
English social care system for elderly facing 'complete collapse'
North East peers want law to make Government investigate impact of Brexit on region
North East recruitment drive revealed as jobless total in region rises
UK employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show
The NHS needs a rethink. Its priorities no longer make sense
Top Labour politicians come to 'UKIP area' Sunderland for Brexit debates and festival
Rothbury Community Hospital inpatient ward closure public meeting this week
Shopping will cost you more as prices rise, but is Brexit to blame?
Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move
UK labour shortages reported as EU worker numbers fall
Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns
Then the Daily Mail came for Gary Lineker, and we said: ‘Enough!’
Brexit survey revealed: What you would do if given second shot at EU referendum
Booming gig economy costs £4bn in lost tax and benefit payouts, says TUC
There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid
Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire
NHS 'pays £7.5m a year for 20 most expensive agency doctors'
Drive to bring health and social care together is a well-intentioned mess
Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.
Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017
Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017
Regional Education Calendar 2017
A&E in England had worst delays ever in January, leak suggests
Why was Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes the star of Prime Minister's questions?
Number of patients stuck in hospital 'far higher than NHS data shows'
It's time corporate tax dodgers started losing lucrative council contracts
More council housing needed in the North East - government report reveals
Council tax, youth funding and bins: 6 things to look out for from Sunderland budget meeting
TyneMet and South Tyneside colleges merger: What it means for jobs, campuses and its new name?
Review of tribunal fees finally published
Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices
Insecure work on rise
Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million
A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.
UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years, says report
NHS ID scheme could deter eligible patients, say MPs
Councils may cut social care provision due to underfunding, LGA says
Nursery schools: ‘What society gives children less chance than their parents?’
Council tax rise planned for Northumberland residents as authority faces £36m cuts
'Trump can't hack Trebs' - the best signs from Newcastle anti-Trump demonstration
Racism at work
Economy grows but there's a shortfall
Advice on gender pay gap from Acas
Tories offer no solution on discrimination
Eight assaults a day in Welsh schools
A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.
Winners in January.
Northern Region Young Members AGM
UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.
Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.
In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.
Papers for the meeting on 6 February.
Death by a thousand fire service cuts
Guidance on stress
Modern-day slave traders jailed
Fees let bad bosses get off scot free
Top-ranked inclusive employers 2017
Get tough on pay, says pension funds
Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.
Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.
Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.
Wales to ditch parts of 2016 Trade Union Act
Inflation rates at highest since 2014
Retail inflation eating into earnings growth
UK unemployment at nine-year low
Public sector pay poised to fall by thousands in real terms, TUC says
May’s promise on workers’ rights is hollow if she doesn’t get a deal
NHS crisis: the one act of self-sacrifice that could rescue our health service
Politicians have ignored the working class for too long
World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%
Crisis, what NHS crisis? Theresa May must stop this denial
Welsh government tables bill to overturn Trade Union Act
UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition.
Courier's tribunal win against CitySprint
TUC warns over Brexit threat to workers' rights
Lame excuses for not paying minimum wage
High street store fined over safety
Manufacturing output edges higher
Child poverty briefing
Winners in December.
Consultation on political fund review: December-January
We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.
Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.
UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.
'Precarious pay penalty' of zero-hours staff
Plans for a Universal Basic Income
2017 — economic forecasts for year
'Fat Cat Wednesday' has been and gone
Northern Ireland to reveal political gifts
UK's deficit in trade in goods gets ever worse
UK economic growth revised upwards