Camden News
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 7 February 2008
A privatisation too far

• I WRITE to express my dismay at the council’s intention to privatise the Supported Living Scheme, which is currently an in-house residential service for people with learning disabilities.
Last year the management of this service expended significant public resources of time and money preparing an in-house bid for the contract to continue to run the service.
This was subsequently withdrawn four days before the tender deadline on the spurious grounds that the council could not comply with the legislative requirement under the Medicines Act 1988; to either make a profit or break even in the second year of a successful tender.
This was especially surprising as the council had claimed that a lawyer oversaw this “bid” from the outset.
Presumably if this was the case then s/he should or ought to have known from the beginning whether or not there was a realistic chance of the council meeting the requirements of this legislation.
The service’s financial problems are largely attributed to the management’s unnecessary and wasteful use of agency staff, (which is contrary to the chief executive’s policy of cutting back on agency fees) to cover unfilled vacancies in the Supported Living Scheme.
This has been further exacerbated by the staff being prevented from applying for vacant managerial post which have been filled exclusively by agency managers.
If the council had any serious intention of ever submitting and winning an in-house bid then presumably they would have filled vacancies with directly employed staff.
A more plausible explanation is that the council never had any intention of submitting a tender. The posts were deliberately left unfilled so that any privateers who won the contract would not inherit (under Transfer of Under­takings (Protection of Employment) regulations) too many staff engaged on more favourable terms than their own.
Camden council tax payers should be extremely wary, as this privatisation could end up costing them huge sums of money and/or cuts to other council services.
In the neighbouring borough of Islington, home care services were privatised with the contract being awarded to Care UK.
After a year this organisation received £3 million of council tax payers’ money which was used by them to buy employees out of their existing contracts and then re-engage them on their own inferior terms and conditions. In effect the tax payer was subsidising the privatisation of the service.
If council tax payers in Camden want to avoid this situation they may wish to make representations to: The Head of Disability Services, Third floor, Bedford House, 125-133 Camden High Street, London NW1 7JR.
It is still not too late to stop this reckless and disruptive privatisation, which is not in the interest of the service-users, the local tax payer or the dedicated staff who work in this valuable service.
Denise Carr
Address supplied

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

Comment on this article.
(You must supply your full name and email address for your comment to be published)







Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions