date: 30 July 2012
embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 31 July 2012
A new report published today (Tuesday) by unions and voluntary sector groups highlights potential flaws in the government's localism agenda, as outlined in the Localism Act.
Jointly produced by the TUC and National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA), Localism: Threat or opportunity? includes articles from a range of diverse voices from the union and voluntary sector including the TUC, Adur Voluntary Action, Age UK, the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA), the NCIA, the Northampton Institute of Urban Affairs, the Runnymede Trust, Shelter and the Women's Resource Centre.
The report reveals that while many in the voluntary sector are keen to see more engagement between public service providers and local community organisations, the government's determination to create competitive markets for public services and a failure to understand collective and community approaches to public service provision could seriously undermine this relationship.
New powers within the Localism Act, such as the Community Right to Challenge, come under particularly scrutiny in the report. The TUC and voluntary organisations fear that the Right to Challenge, which allows local non-profit groups to bid to run public services, will simply open up competition for services to the benefit of large private sector outsourcing companies.
Other concerns raised in Localism: Threat or opportunity? include the lack of capacity within certain communities and voluntary organisations to buy local assets or produce neighbourhood plans. The report fears that this will simply empower those in the community with the loudest voices, the most resources and the sharpest elbows to influence local decision-making.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Everybody wants to see public services that are responsive to local need, and where service users and staff are given a genuinely powerful voice in local decision-making.
'But the government's preoccupation with the power of market competition and outsourcing means that the big winners from the Localism Act will be private sector contractors, who will see the local not-for-profit groups as either 'bid candy' or cheap sub-contractors for delivering the service contracts that they hoover up.'
Andy Benson from NCIA said: 'The government's Localism Act has been heralded as a shift of power from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils.
'However, in reality the main effect of the Act will be to hasten the privatisation of vital public and community services. This report aims to expose the reality behind the rhetoric, and provide the means for local communities and voluntary services to look this particular gift horse in the mouth.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Localism: Threat or opportunity? is available at www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/354/Localism_Guide_2012.pdf
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
- More information on NCIA can be found on their website www.independentaction.net
- Congress 2012 will be held at the Brighton Centre from Sunday 9 September to Wednesday 12 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials and completing an online form. Applications must be in by noon on Wednesday 29 August. Any received later than that will be processed in Brighton and will cost £50. Please note that the Brighton Centre requires 60 days' notice for telephone line facilities. Details available on the link above.
Andy Benson T: 020 8800 7509 E: email@example.com
Press release (600 words) issued 31 Jul 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-21284-f0.cfm
printed 19 May 2013 at 05:43 hrs by 22.214.171.124