European Services Strategy Unit

The European Services Strategy Unit is committed to social justice through the provision of good quality public services by democratically accountable public bodies implementing best practice management, employment, equal opportunity and sustainable development policies. It is an independent, non-profit organisation, which continues the work of the Centre for Public Services, founded in 1973.

ESSU provides detailed research and analysis of regional and city economies and public sector provision; critical analysis of marketisation and privatisation; service improvement and public management; infrastructure and public private partnerships; jobs and employment policies; and impact assessment for government, public bodies, trade unions and community organisations.

ESSU produces a range of publications which are free to download.

The Outsourcing and PPP Library provides analysis and information on the consequences of outsourcing public services, Public Private Partnerships, PFI projects and strategic partnerships.

Latest News and Events

A Decade of Downloads

466,574 documents (doc and pdf), presentations and spreadsheets have been downloaded from this ESSU/CPS website since June 2005 with a global reach – a very significant record for a small organisation. Many documents are also available on the websites of organisations that commissioned research and analysis, thus increasing the total to well over half a million downloads.

2015-06-04 15:16:32

2015 news and events from the European Services Strategy Unit.

2015-02-18 09:16:54
Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services: The Ideological Context, Paper No. 4 - Dexter Whitfield

This paper for the National Coalition for Independent Action's Inquiry examines neoliberal ideology and objectives and their role in the transformation of public services and the welfare state. The paper highlights ways in which voluntary sector organisations are being drawn into the commercialisation and marketisation of public services and the effects of a contract culture. t- final.pdf Other Inquiry reports available from: eports/

2014-06-19 17:10:41
Unmasking Austerity: Opposition and Alternatives in Europe and North America, by Dexter Whitfield, Spokesman Books (eBook)

Exposes how austerity policies have fuelled the fire of recession rather than stimulated growth. It identifies key lessons from organising and action against such policies, and urges a rethink of trade union, community and social movement strategies to overcome austerity. Unmasking Austerity examines the deeper causes of the financial crisis, and exposes the manufactured crises, which are being used to dismantle hard-earned labour rights and the welfare state. A radical alternative strategy includes economic stimulus, reconstruction of public services, faster fundamental reform of banks and financial markets, the elimination of corporate welfare that enriches big business, and strategies to increase labour’s share of national income. ePub: Amazon Kindle: ook/ dp/B00JQ6L6ZM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397661472&sr=8-1&keywords=unmasking+austerity

2014-04-22 08:50:28
London Fire Brigade’s Protective Equipment Group retained in-house

The Protective Equipment Group (PEG) provides specialist equipment, expertise and services ranging from respiratory and chemical protection to high line and water rescue. It employs 35 staff and operates 24/7/365 for emergency services. The service was included in the retendering of the fleet maintenance contract (a 21 year contract awarded to Babcock International), but the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority decided to retain the PEG service in-house following a report by ESSU for UNISON LFEPA and an officer cost assessment report.

2014-04-02 13:13:27
UK outsourcing expands despite high contract failure rates

An article on False Economy explains why PPP strategic partnerships remain untouched by the government’s procurement reforms. It sets out the four key reasons for the high failure rate of strategic partnerships. tes

2014-01-30 18:23:58

Latest Publications

Education & Skills and Catering: Threat of large-scale subcontracting

Barnet Council is in process of privatising Education and Skills including the catering service to Capita Group or Cambridge Education (Mott MacDonald). Capita’s joint venture with Staffordshire County Council subcontracted 87% of the staff to Chartwells after just two years of a 20-year contract. Both Barnet bidders are likely to subcontract catering which will impose additional risks on catering’s income generation and the workforce.

2015-06-09 14:13:34
Barnet Education & Skills and Catering: Analysis of Options Appraisal

The options ‘appraisal’ recommends a Joint Venture Company (Capita is the Council’s main contractor and withdrew from managing the procurement so that it could bid). But the appraisal is based almost entirely on assumptions, estimates, possibilities and other vagaries. This report shows how the in-house bid was constructively dismissed by ignoring key risks, simplistic evaluation and unsubstantiated growth forecasts for the JVC model.

2015-01-10 10:47:46
New Forms of Privatization

Keynote presentation by Dexter Whitfield at New Forms of Privatization: What they are and how to fight them international conference, Ottawa, Canada on 28-30 October 2014 organised by the National Union of Public and General Employees.

2014-11-05 15:56:04
The Future of Barnet Libraries

The London Borough of Barnet has produced three options for the future of the library service – none include in-house provision. Deep cuts, heavy reliance on volunteering and an ‘open library’ project bring new risks and consequences for the service, users and staff.

2014-11-04 14:09:51
PAPERBACK EDITION - Unmasking Austerity: Opposition and Alternatives in Europe and North America

This important book is now available in paperback with full colour graphics, price £15.00 from and from Amazon books – ISBN 978 0 85124 8417

2014-10-16 12:51:09
Commercialising Dorset’s Adult Social Care Services: Critical analysis of the proposed Local Authority Trading Company for Dorset County UNISON

Shows how Adult Social Care Services Options Appraisal is seriously flawed. A series of charts on quality, cost, governance, finance and acceptability to stakeholders illustrate how the in-house option and the interests of services users and staff are marginalised by the intent to create a commercialised trading company. It is not a genuine appraisal of options and appears to have been commissioned with a pre-determined outcome. Dorset CC used the same consultants as Barnet Council for its LATC, now in financial crisis with staff on strike.

2014-09-18 14:14:30


European Services Strategy Unit, Duagh, Camp, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.
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This document was created by Adam Moran on 2003-10-30 12:34:30.
This document was last modified by Chris Croome on 2012-01-09 12:28:40.
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