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

Social Impact Bond investors profit from deporting London rough sleepers

The London Homelessness Social Impact Bond was designed to reduce rough sleeping, but led to two charities to work in partnership with Home Office agencies to ‘reconnect’ non-UK nationals by voluntary repatriation, administrative removal or deportation. This ESSU briefing raises critical issues for non-profits engaging in core state functions.

2017-03-12 10:43:33
Social Enterprise plans wage cuts, redundancies and service closures

Somerset County Council plans to transfer the Council’s Learning Disabilities Provider Service to a new social enterprise established by Dimensions (UK) Ltd in April 2017. The service has an annual budget of nearly £30m and 1,160 staff. The social enterprise has announced plans to reduce all terms and conditions for the whole workforce, impose immediate redundancies, and to ‘redesign’ services with closures. This brief analysis highlights the risks and potential dire consequences of transferring services to social enterprises and arms length companies.

2017-02-06 16:34:00
2017

2017 news and events from the European Services Strategy Unit.

2017-01-05 12:20:21
Maintaining market principles: Government auditors, PPP equity sales and hegemony: Public sector reforms, public private partnerships and whole government accounting

Article by Stewart Smyth and Dexter Whitfield in Accounting Forum journal. The UK’s government auditors, the National Audit office (NAO), play a central role in the accountability relations surrounding government expenditure. Commonly portrayed as being independent, they carry out performance audits assessing value for money. To date the emerging market for PPP equity transactions has attracted little attention. This paper explores that emerging market through a Gramscian framework utilising the concepts of ‘common sense’ and ‘good sense’, focusing on a dialogical analysis of a NAO report. Open Access download: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.accfor.2016.06.003

2016-09-14 08:22:14
PFI schools built in Scotland owned by offshore firms

An hour-long BBC television ‘Scotland Investigates’ programme on 22 August revealed evidence by Dexter Whitfield that over 80% of Scotland’s PFI schools are partly or wholly owned in offshore tax havens. The programme investigated the cause of the closure of 17 Edinburgh schools for repairs after construction defaults were found. Equity in this project had been sold 13 times. Part of the interview was on the BBC Television National 6.00pm news and was the lead item on the Scottish News. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-37135611 A detailed ESSU Research Report on secondary market infrastructure funds will be published shortly.

2016-08-28 08:56:31
Statement to Somerset County Council on outsourcing Learning Disabilities Service

A joint UNITE Somerset and European Service Strategy Unit statement summarising the case against the planned outsourcing of the Learning Disability Service. It exposes fundamental flaws and negligent practice, which indicate the Council has not learnt the lessons of the failed PPP Strategic Partnership contract with IBM.

2016-07-15 08:47:44

Latest Publications

PFI/PPP Buyouts, Bailouts, Terminations and Major Problem Contracts, ESSU Research Report No. 9, Dexter Whitfield

Details 11 buyouts, 20 terminations and 43 projects with major problems, plus many bailouts, accounting for 28% of PFI/PPP contracts by capital value. The public cost of buyouts, bailouts, terminations and major problem contracts is £27,902m, when combined with the additional cost of private finance, interest rate swaps and higher PFI transaction costs. This could have built 1,520 new secondary schools for 1,975,000 pupils, 64% of 11-17 year old pupils in England. The UK’s 6.8% ratio of buyout and terminated contracts is higher than the 5.4% average of World Bank projects in developing countries for terminated contracts. This ESSU Research Report explains the causes and fundamental flaws in the PFI/PPP model.

2017-02-06 09:59:23
The financial commodification of public infrastructure: The growth of offshore PFI/PPP secondary market infrastructure funds, ESSU Research Report No. 8, Dexter Whitfield

New research reveals the rapid growth and power of offshore secondary market infrastructure funds – a £17.1bn (€20.1bn) industry buying and selling equity in PFI/PPP project companies. The three-way profit gain – original SPV shareholders, secondary market fund sales and shareholder dividends of secondary market funds – means the total annual rate of return could be between 45%-60% – three to five times the rate of return in PFI/PPP final business cases. The five largest listed offshore infrastructure funds made a total profit of £1.8bn (€2.1bn) in the five-period 2011-2015 but paid ZERO tax. Recommends termination of PFI/PPP programme, nationalisation of SPVs, increased public investment and many more policy changes.

2016-10-04 14:19:29
The People’s Inquiry into Privatisation in Australia

Submission by Dexter Whitfield on the critical importance and need for alternatives to privatisation. A demand for public ownership alone is inadequate. It must be accompanied by proposals to radically change the way public services are managed and held democratically accountable. Otherwise, public ownership alone will ultimately lead to re-privatisation later.

2016-09-29 13:05:09
Adult Social Care stays in-house but Barnet reverts to outsourcing

London Borough of Barnet Council recently decided to retain the Adult Social Care service in-house. That policy reversal did not last long. The Street Scene options appraisal (waste collection, recycling, street cleaning, grounds maintenance and fleet management) includes a designed to fail ‘in-house (pre December 2015)’ option. It is now examining options involving Local Authority Trading Company, outsourcing and shared services options. This report exposes the risks and flaws in this approach.

2016-09-27 17:02:26
Chinese translation of social impact bonds critique

China Social Welfare journal has published a 6,000-word summary of the Alternative to Private Finance of the Welfare State, a global analysis of Social Impact Bond, Pay-for-Success and Development Impact Bond projects by Dexter Whitfield. Thanks to Prof. Li Bing, Beijing.

2016-09-23 15:02:52
Direct and Collateral Damage to Barnet Libraries

Analysis of Barnet Council’s proposals for the Library Service – 46% job loss and 70% cut in hours. 72% of library opening hours will be unstaffed technology-enabled opening with 10% being volunteer-supported. Highlights widespread community opposition, flawed economics and the false claims made to justify the transfer or outsourcing of the Library Service.

2016-03-22 14:24:39

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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 2016-02-17 14:19:44.
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