(July 2012) Privatisation of public services brings together a number of studies carried out between 2007 and 2009 that examined the impact of privatisation and liberalisation on public employment, productivity and the quality of public services.
The "PIQUE" project recognised that public services throughout Europe had undergone dramatic restructuring processes as a result of liberalization and privatization. However, evaluations of these changes had focused on more prices and notions of (...)
(July 2012) The results of a four-year research project, "Reforming markets and organizations", challenges a number of dominant ideas about the effects of markets and competition.
The project was funded by the Academy of Finland and led by Johan Willner, Professor of Economics at the School of Åbo Akademi.
The research looked at how efficiency and effectiveness are defined and found that a publicly-owned organisation may be more effective because it is better at achieving goals that are (...)
(July 2012) The university sector in the UK, and some universities in particular, are under pressure to cut costs and to outsource services. In response to this challenge the Working Lives Research Institute (WLRI) at London Metropolitan University has produced a very useful overview of the evidence on outsourcing, arguing that there is little to demonstrate that it delivers on quality.
Shared business services outsourcing: progress at work or work in progress? is based on European (...)
(July 2012) After many years when privatisation, contracting-out and outsourcing have been the dominant trends across the public services, there is now increasing evidence, particularly in the municipal sector – including water and energy – of trends in the opposite direction.
The Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) at Greenwich University in London has produced a short briefing for EPSU that looks at the background, the latest evidence and highlights some of the key issues (...)
(May 2012) Municipalities and departments in France have begun to take advantage of a new form of public company to replace privatised services with public provision.
Legislation adopted in 2010 with all-party support, enables two or more communes or municipalities to create a ‘local public company’ (société publique locale - SPL), 100% owned by public authorities, to carry out local public services, without the need to invite tenders from private companies.
The new French law includes two (...)
(May 2012) Since the early 2000s public enterprise in Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest City, has undergone a major transformation. This has seen the creation of the country’s largest municipal services consortium and the return into public hands of key public services like waste management.
This is in stark contrast to the often flawed and corrupt privatisations, public-private partnerships and cross-border leasings that characterised the City’s services in the 1990s.
The Stadtwerke Köln, (...)
(May 2012) Trade unions have been campaigning for many years against the use of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) by the government, under the private finance initiative (PFI). The campaigns have been vindicated by the spectacular failure of the biggest PPPs of all, which were set up for the underground rail system in London. Transport for London (TfL), the public authority for the UK’s capital city, terminated four major PPP contracts in all.
In 2003 the renovation of the London (...)
(December 2011) Many municipalities and joint authorities (set up by two or more local authorities to tend to specific tasks on a permanent basis) are disappointed with the results of outsourcing. And the dissatisfaction is so great that up to a fifth of these public organizations plan to take back outsourced work so that it can be done once again by their own personnel.
This is one of the major findings from the latest questionnaire directed at JHL (Trade Union for the Public and Welfare (...)
(December 2011) Over 140 mayors from across the political spectrum have signed up to a campaign for improved funding of local government services.
The campaign is calling for a re-negotiation of the federal Austrian financial distribution system, which the national government plans to undertake in 2013. By doing this, the various groups in the ‘Communal Resolution Campaign’ want to promote a new type of dialogue and alliance-building between trade unions, civil society, local politicians (...)
(December 2011) The GMB general union has told the Department of Health that it needs to get to grips with the very real risks to the social care market, if another Southern Cross care home disaster is to be avoided.
The GMB’s evidence to the Department of Health discussion paper, Oversight of the social care market, submitted on 2 December, warned of dangers that have been ignored up to now. The existing framework is completely inadequate and doesn’t provide any proper check on the (...)