Specialists hit out at new privatisation threats

Specialists hit out at new privatisation threats

Professional public servants have reacted with anger at Government plans to subject public bodies to a new round of ‘efficiency’ studies and reviews of status.

Prospect attacked the recommendations of the Operational Efficiency Review to which the Government are about to respond.

Deputy General Secretary Dai Hudd said Government’s plans to realise greater value from its asset base were “a tired retread of past policies that will deliver little benefit to the taxpayer and divert staff from their prime task of delivering a service to customers and the public.”

Hudd welcomed the finding that none of the assets so far examined, with the exception of the Royal Mint, were likely to face privatisation as a result of the OER.

But he disputed the proposals for further studies into exploiting the potential value of key Government agencies and plans to launch a second wave of reviews into a new set of public bodies. “What more is there to review? All these organisations have five-year business plans written off by ministers, independent supervisory boards and the Shareholder Executive to exercise oversight on behalf of Government.

“These new reviews will disrupt those plans and confuse line of responsibility. Bodies like the Met Office and Ordnance Survey have already been reviewed countless times for privatisation and each time the idea has been dropped as unworkable. Whatever difficulties the private sector may face it does not have to cope with Treasury-inspired interference and continual threatened changes of status.

“What holds all these bodies back is the Treasury stranglehold over them raising capital for new investment, developing new pay and grading systems or planning for the long term.

“The tedious debate over public – private status is now old hat. It’s time to move on, especially since the Government has now effectively taken the banks into public ownership.”