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 Services to Community Action and Trade Unions (SCAT) and later the Centre for Public Services since 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; impact assessment and strategies for public ownership and provision for government, public bodies, trade unions and community organisations.

Our history

ESSU began as Shelter Community Action Team (SCAT) in June 1973, fully funded for five years by Shelter, the national housing campaign. The name changed to Services to Community Action and Trade Unions in 1978 when other organisations also began funding the project. The name changed to the Centre for Public Services in 1992 and then to the European Services Strategy Unit in 2006.

Original SCAT Team based in London, Cardiff, Leeds and Lancashire: Ian Christie, Mike Fleetwood, Keith Mollison, Peta Sissons, Dexter Whitfield

London team in 1980s: Frances Carter, Jane Foot, Steve Nathan, Robin Arthur, Roger Critchley (Nottingham project)

Sheffield team from 1989: Karen Escott, Alex Nunn, David Granville, Anne Rosewarne, Christine Bogue, Kate Ribery, Dexter Whitfield

On 1st June 2013 the European Services Strategy Unit (ESSU/CPS/SCAT) celebrated 40 years of research, public policy analysis and alternative strategies for trade unions, community organisations and public sector bodies.

The 25th Anniversary Conference of the Centre for Public Services ‘Rethinking Public Services for the 21st century’ was held on 21 May 1998 at Sheffield Hallam University.

Keynote Speakers were: Richard Caborn MP (Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning), Rodney Bickerstaff (General Secretary, UNISON), Ruth Lister (Professor of Social Policy, Loughborough University), Al Bilik (President, Public Employees Department, AFL-CIO, USA), Judith Hunt (Chief Executive, Local Government Management Board), John Benington (Director, Local Authorities Research Consortium, Warwick University), Larry Elliott (Economic Editor, The Guardian), Hilary Wainwright (Writer and Editor) and Dave Feickert (TUC European Office).