Transfers and Externalisation

Studies examining the case against and evidence of the impact of transferring services and functions to arms length companies, trusts and quangos.

  • Transfer of Somerset's Learning Disability Service to a social enterprise

    Two joint briefings by UNITE Somerset and ESSU on the transfer of Somerset County Council's Learning Disability Provider Service (LDPS) to a social enterprise operated by Dimensions (UK) Limited. The first briefing (July 2016) made the case against transfer and recommended an improved in-house service. The second (March 2017) detailed the draconian changes to all terms and conditions for 1,150 staff together with service closures.

  • Alternative Option: Care Services for the Elderly in Birmingham

    This report is written in the context of a critique of Birmingham Social Services Department’s Best Value review of care services for the elderly. It documents the findings and recommendations of the RAGE consultation of service users, families, local community organisations and staff directly working in the residential care service in October/November 2000 and presents a realistic, alternative solution. Commissioned by Birmingham UNISON and Residents Action Group for the Elderly (RAGE) November 2000.

  • Birmingham Residents Action Group for the Elderly

    This report was written in response to the proposed transfer of Birmingham City Council’s residential care homes into the hands of an independent trust, and contains a detailed analysis of the issues arising when such public services are transferred to independent trusts. The report contains market analysis of the conditions in which independent trusts must operate, and examines previous examples of such ventures in order to demonstrate the fundamental flaws and long-term economic insecurity of the trust option, and provides an evaluation of the options for in-house provision of such services. Commissioned by UNISON Birmingham Branch for Residents Action Group for the Elderly (RAGE) June 2000.

  • Care Services for the Elderly: Social and economic impact of transfer

    This report is the culmination of the centre’s research, commissioned by RAGE and Birmingham UNISON, into the issues surrounding the privatisation of care services for the elderly in Birmingham. The report contains a comprehensive analysis of the wide-ranging social and economic implications of the transfer of care services to the private sector, and demonstrates the inherently financial nature of council proposals. commissioned by Residents Action Group for the Elderly (RAGE) and Birmingham UNISON (July 2001).

  • City Design – The New Agenda

    City Design, Newcastle City Council's architectural department, was facing decline and possible closure in 2003/04. This report, commissioned by Newcastle City UNISON from the Centre for Public Services, examines the future demands for high quality design of public buildings, public spaces and the public realm. It examines the options for the service and includes a risk matrix of the options. The service was retained in-house. Includes an appendix on Key Principles for City Design.

  • Does Excelcare Really?

    Essex County Council sold it’s ten remaining care homes in 2005 to Excelcare Holdings Plc. Staff were assured that TUPE would protect terms and conditions and would last “indefinitely”. Less than two months later, Excelcare demanded changes in rotas and working hours, followed by radical changes to terms and conditions which included a reduction in pay rates and earnings – many staff would lose between 30% – 40% of their income, a reduction in holidays and loss of sickness benefit (only Statutory Sick Pay) and the loss of night shift rates because Excelcare imposed a 24 hour rate.

    A few staff accepted the offer but most did not. In November 2006 it imposed new terms and conditions in five homes by terminating the contracts of all staff who had not accepted the offer. Those who continued working were paid at Excelcare rates and not the Essex County Council pay rates transferred under TUPE.

    Excelcare operate the homes using ten separate companies. Excelcare Holdings PLC is registered in England and Wales, which in turn is owned by the ultimate parent company, Excelcare Group Ltd, registered in Jersey, Channel Islands, a tax haven.

    The report examines the procurement process and homes transfer, economics of the Essex contract and the Excelcare company strategy, the impact on residential care and staff, draws lessons for procurement, care standards, inspection and scrutiny. The recommendations are targeted at Excelcare, Essex County Council and the Commission for Social care Inspection. Commissioned by Essex County UNISON.

    In July 2010 one hundred and fifteen ex-Excelcare workers received nearly £1m compensation after being dismissed for not accepting wage cuts of up to 40% and other changes to terms and conditions.

  • Externalisation by Privatisation

    Externalisation is a form of privatisation which is often couched in carefully worded language in order to hide its true impact- ‘joint working’, ‘partnership’, and ‘collaborative working’. This report uncovers the truth behind the jargon, exposing the true nature of the externalisation of services and the wide range of negative consequences, and making the case for the retention of services in-house.

    Details the scale of privatisation by the sale of Direct Service Organisations, management buyouts, leisure trusts and large-scale voluntary transfer of council housing. Assesses the impact on jobs and employment policies, the effect on local authorities and local economies and the growth of an externalisation market, for UNISON (44 pages).

  • From Sports and Leisure Provision to Neighbourhood Management: A Strategy for Sport and Leisure in Newcastle

    Newcastle City UNISON commissioned this report from the Centre for Public Services which successfully made the case not to establish a Leisure Trust and to develop leisure services as an integral part of neighbourhood management (2003).

  • Future options: Residential Care Homes for the Elderly in Barnet

    An analysis of management consultants review of the London Borough of Barnet's care homes and the proposal to transfer the homes to a trust. Commissioned by Barnet UNISON in 1999.

  • Leisure and Library Trusts

    The past decade has seen an increasing presence of independent trusts established to take over public services from local authorities. This report is a detailed analysis of all aspects of leisure and library trusts and includes economic statistical analysis of the trust option, and a set of guidelines for trade unions in dealing with the trust debate. Commissioned by UNISON (1998).

  • Leisure Trust Failure Alternative Option for East Hertfordshire District Council

    East Hertfordshire’s Leisure Services contract with Enfield Leisure Centres Ltd (Aspire Trust) has a major financial crisis. It is £500,000 in the red in the first year of a five-year contract. Resignations of senior staff and the possible liquidation of the Enfield Trust add to the scale of the crisis – a crisis in the making during the evaluation of the market testing bids in 2005. An in-house bid ‘disappeared’ at the evaluation stage and despite the Enfield Trust bid being based on an 8% increase in leisure income and a 10% cut in staffing costs, they were awarded the contract. But the contract was not signed until five months after staff were transferred and large sections on monitoring and staffing issues were removed. From attempting to achieve a saving of £975,000 over five years the Council saved a little over £50,000 in the first year. It is now faced with an additional estimated cost of £903,560 over five years based on the 2005/06 budget.

  • Leisure Trusts Briefing

    A summary of the case against the formation of Leisure Trusts. It examines the performance of leisure trusts, access to capital and savings, social enterprise and community ownership, service integration, the effect on jobs, service improvement, community participation, democratic accountability and increased risks.

  • Social and Community Care for Older People in South Tyneside

    The local authority and a KPMG report recommended that two homes be closed and the remaining five homes be reconfigured and retained in-house or closed or transferred to the private sector. This UNISON commissioned report from the Centre for Public Services presents an alternative strategy and makes the case against closure.

  • The Case for the 4th Option for Council Housing

    This report makes a comprehensive case for the 4th Option for council investment. Council housing is a socially important housing tenure. It is democratically accountable, has a range of economic benefits and provides access to affordable housing. Even within the government's own rules for public spending, there is ample room to deliver the needed investment to correct 30 years of under-investment and marginalisation, especially if government subsidies for Large Scale Voluntary Transfer and PFI are diverted into direct investment. Arms Length Management Organisations introduced by the government as a third way for council housing, are in reality a stepping stone to privatisation. (Centre for Public Services, May 2004)

  • The Future of Residential Care in Rochdale

    In 2001 the local authority decided to withdraw completely from residential care provision requiring the closure of three homes and the conversion or recommissioning of the four remaining homes. The strategy also called for a further transfer of 30% of the home care service to the independent sector. This report examined the potential impact of this strategy.

  • The future of Tameside Care Group

    After years of pay cuts and diminishing working conditions 200 mainly female, low paid, part-time workers were sacked in early 1998 for taking a stand against their treatment. Commissioned by Unison North West Region, this report examines the mismanagement which underlies the workers’ treatment through the establishment of the Tameside Community Care Trust. The report places the analysis of the issues surrounding the Tameside trust within a broader debate on the fundamentally problematic nature of the trust option.Commissioned by UNISON North West Region (1999).