We own it

we own itI’ve signed up at weownit.org.uk. It’s a campaigning web-site against the privatisation of public services. I support the idea in principle but reserve the right to disagree occasionally.

The people behind the site don’t declare a political affiliation but I suspect they’re mainly left of centre. There also seems to be a strong trade union link. No matter my politics can stretch that far.

So why did I sign it? I guess it’s because I do believe in public service being about the delivery of good quality service and the best way to achieve that is to not allow finance to be the primary driver. In basic terms you want service to be maximised whilst achieving some baseline level of financial performance. That’s the opposite of the way that the Carillons, Capitas and Sercos of this world would look at it. They would maximise financial returns whilst delivering a minimum acceptable level of service.

I’m not anti-private sector. How could I be because I’ve had over 40 years’ work in it and its served me well? However you often get the same philosophy in well run private sector companies which are running their own businesses and not running services for someone else. They go the extra mile for their customers and it’s a value which runs throughout their organisations. The outsourcing firms don’t think like that. They think about how they can cut their costs not about how they can deliver more and/or better service.

There’s another problem with outsourcing of course and that’s its essential nature. It adds another link in the chain so that they become one step removed from those to whom they should be accountable. And since they often work with sub-contracting models this problem is compounded. It results in poorer service and weaker control. Not a good combination.

So I’m happy to sign up but that’s to deliver better services and not just to protect public sector jobs which I suspect is the motivation of many at ‘we won it


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