Tender for research on privatisation

Call for tender

Tender Specifications for Research on scale of and responses to privatisation in central government and the European Commission

Date of publication on the EPSU website: 9/11/2020
Deadline for submissions 7/12/2020
Timetable for research: December 2020-September 2021
To be sent to: Mounia Boudhan ([email protected])

Over the past 30 years, privatisation, outsourcing and public-private partnerships have eaten into the direct provision of services across central/federal government in many countries. These processes were given more momentum following the last economic and financial crisis and the response to COVID-19 may well be another excuse for governments to look to the private sector to help cut costs. Digitalisation is also likely to lead to a greater role for the private sector in delivering major projects of data management and processing and artificial intelligence. 

Reasons for the research 
The research will provide evidence for arguments EPSU is already making against privatisation/outsourcing/PPPs regarding the impact on the workforce (lower pay and poorer working conditions, expansion of a two-tier workforce), quality and availability  of public services, public finance/opacity of public accounts, corruption (“state capture” by commercial interests), trade unions (in terms of organising, recruitment, rights to be informed and consulted) and scope of collective agreements (depending on employment status e.g.civil servants, employees or outsourced labour). 

It will provide background information for the EU social dialogue committee for central government administrations especially in relation to ongoing discussions on health and safety,  digitalisation, information and consultation rights, quality administration and corruption, as well as on the European Semester.

It will provide affiliates with useful examples from other countries on opposing privatisation/outsourcing and PPPs or thwarting planned privatisation and promoting the right to good, transparent administration, free of corruption and that serves the general interest based on good working conditions. 



The research will have to ensure it covers a good spread of countries across Europe, bearing in mind that there should be a focus on countries where:
•    there has been a significant developments in privatisation and outsourcing;
•    unions are already engaged in campaigns against privatisation;
•    information is available on the key drivers of privatisation, companies involved, the effect on staff, union organising and quality/availability of services; 
•    unions are interested and available to support the research (providing information, in the main EPSU’s NEA standing Committee) and to  ensure a good use of it  for European wide campaigns; and 
•    there is a mix of career-based and employment-based civil services.

The final choice can be made with the researchers taking account also of their capacity and language skills but the aim will be to cover: one or two countries from the Nordic region; Ireland and/or UK (preferably both); Austria and/or Germany, one of two Mediterranean countries; two or three from Central and Eastern Europe including one Baltic state; France and/or Belgium; Netherlands; Ukraine and the European Commission – so between 10  and 15 central/federal administrations


There can be some flexibility in the services covered but it will be important to try to include: call centres, IT (data management, clouds, government apps e.g. covid-19 related), tax administration, social security administration, employment services, economic and finance departments and defence, as well as, building upon previous research commissioned by EPSU, prison services and migration centres.

Format of the research
The main, final output should be a research report, including an executive summary of 2 pages that could also be published as a standalone briefing. There should also be  five case studies focusing on trade union responses.

The contractor selected will meet with the EPSU secretariat in December 2020 in order to discuss the details of the research and the content, length and format of the research report. The contractor will be expected to deliver some initial findings for comments by EPSU affiliates to the meeting of EPSU’s National and European Administration (NEA) Committee on 17 March 2021. A first draft should be produced by 30 June 2021 and a final draft will be due on 20 September 2021 allowing time for distribution in advance of the autumn meeting of the NEA Committee. The contractor will present the main research findings to this Committee.

Expertise required
The contractor will be expected to demonstrate that they have:
•    experience in research in the field of public administration in Europe;
•    experience in research related to the various processes and impacts of privatisation, commercialisation and marketisation of public services;
•    experience in developing comparative research methodologies and tools ;
•    experience of producing reports in English accessible to a wide and non-expert readership.

The maximum funding for this work is 15.000 EUR (all taxes and charges included). This will be paid in three instalments. The first payment of 5.000 EUR will be made on presentation of the initial findings to the NEA Committee on 17 March 2021; the second payment of 5.000 EUR on presentation of the draft report by 30 June 2021 and the third payment of 5.000 EUR on completion of the final report by 20 September 2021, to the satisfaction of the EPSU secretariat. 

The meeting of the NEA Committee in March 2021 will be online. If the autumn meeting of the Committee is a physical meeting (in Brussels) then EPSU will cover any travel and accommodation expenses for the contractor to attend the meeting.

Tenders shall be sent by email to Mounia Boudhan [email protected], to be received at the latest by the 7 December 2020. Tenders received after this date will not be taken into consideration for the selection.
The tender shall be in English and contain:
−    curriculum vitae demonstrating the necessary expertise;
−    a concept for the study, including a description of the methodology, contacts to be established and any further details; and
−    any further documents relevant to the selection criteria – in particular the ability to write in English for a non-expert readership.

For additional information with regards the tender content please contact: Nadja Salson ([email protected]).