UNISON Warns Against Risk Taking & Gambling With Tax Payer's Money In Staffordshire Council's Private Education

UNISON continues to campaign against Staffordshire County Councils ‘risky’ decision to push ahead with its plans to create a private joint venture Company to run its current award winning Education Support Services.

Recently an APSE (Association of Public Service Excellence) report was commissioned by UNISON to provide a wholly independent analysis into the Council’s proposal to privatise its Education Support Services. APSE concluded that the privatisation of over 4000 Education Support Service jobs would possibly be detrimental in a number of different ways, including:

  • increasing the cost of children’s school meals
  • incurring extra curriculum tuition fees
  • reducing the quality of existing services
  • risking employees terms, conditions and pay.

Claire Breeze, UNISON Regional Organiser, said:

“Mr Ian Parry (Conservative Cabinet Member for Education, Finance and Transformation) recently made very unprofessional comments about the independent report compiled by APSE which is interesting because UNISON provided APSE with all information that the Council had made available.

APSE is a highly reputable organisation that regularly carries out high quality work for a diverse range of organisations, including Government departments. To question the integrity of such a well-recognised organisation could be construed as an act of desperation.

“We commissioned the report so the people of Staffordshire could be fully informed about the consequences of privatisation. We think it is fair to make the community aware that if in future they become dissatisfied with the quality or the cost of the private services provided, or, should some services be scrapped because they do not generate enough profit, that the Council has no ‘back-up plan’.

Claire Breeze added:

“If the private joint venture contract is signed in the New Year, Staffordshire could be lumbered with a second class education service with a first class price tag. A private company is move away from democracy and into a future of putting profit before people.

We recently met with Mr Philip Atkins (Leader of the Council) and Mr Ian Parry to ask them to ‘Stop the Rush and End the Secrecy’ – we suggest that if Staffordshire County Council’s business case includes a full options appraisal then Mr Parry should share this information with the trade unions.

We also suggest that the Council should make the people of Staffordshire its priority rather than pursuing an ideologically driven plan to rid itself of what is currently an award winning, high standard, public education support service”.