Thursday, July 13, 2006


Outsourcing or privatisation?

South Tyneside Council intends to find a partner in the private sector to help deliver it's services, they are to spend 800,000 pounds securing the partnership which is intended initially to provide services such as Council tax collection, highways, and housing benefit. I have long been in favour of outsourcing as a means of cost reduction and the private sector, generally, has an enviable record on costs control and profitability when compared to public bodies, naturally Merv Butler, the South Tyneside Branch Secretary of Unison is almost incandescent, this is to be expected and is understandable. Those who have worked for local government for many years will have fears, terpidation, and worries about job security, working conditions, and wages, and because of this talks and consultations will be extensive and comprehensive to ensure a smooth transition.

For the public, there are likely to be benefits as private operators seek to achieve targets in an atmosphere of ruthless efficiency, seeing each and every contact as a customer or service user.

I recently had to contact a number of retailers via email, Blockbuster Video's HQ in Glasgow replied to me within five minutes, Debenhams within half an hour, Next within fourty minutes.
Commercially I have dealt with Northumbrian Water who tend to reply to emails within 24 hours, Scottish Power are very good and reply within the hour, Ford Components at Tyne Dock replied within 30 minutes, and that was on a Sunday.

Presently South Tyneside Borough Council find it difficult to reply to my mail within a month!

Outsourcing or privatisation? YES PLEASE!


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