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One percent

Has privatisation run its course?

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Labour is promising/threatening (depending on your position) to renationalise key utilities.  Now the probation service is to be brought back in public control. Private company has apparently made a pigs ear of it. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48288433

Supervision of all offenders in England and Wales is to be taken over by the government after serious failings with the part-privatisation of the system.

Contracts with community rehabilitation companies, which monitor low and medium risk offenders, will not be renewed.

The National Probation Service - which manages those posing the highest threat - will take over in December 2020.

It reverses changes made five years ago by then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to drive down re-offending.

However, in March the National Audit Office said problems with the new system had cost taxpayers almost £500m and that the numbers returning to prison for breaching their licence conditions had "skyrocketed".

And chief probation inspector Dame Glenys Stacey said the model of part-privatisation was "irredeemably flawed" and people would be safer under a system delivered by the public sector. 

 

Private good public bad. Trough, trough. 

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2 minutes ago, MrPin said:

Private Probation Service, duh? What could go wrong?

Clearly a lot. I’m reminded of the governments decision to let one of their buddy private companies run the Olympics.  It was handled so badly, they had to draft the army in.  

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Privatisation was a mantra. It would solve everything. It was heresy to doubt it. We have other such mantras today The media love them, and repeat them.

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2 hours ago, One percent said:

Labour is promising/threatening (depending on your position) to renationalise key utilities.  Now the probation service is to be brought back in public control. Private company has apparently made a pigs ear of it. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48288433

Supervision of all offenders in England and Wales is to be taken over by the government after serious failings with the part-privatisation of the system.

 Contracts with community rehabilitation companies, which monitor low and medium risk offenders, will not be renewed.

The National Probation Service - which manages those posing the highest threat - will take over in December 2020.

It reverses changes made five years ago by then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to drive down re-offending. 

However, in March the National Audit Office said problems with the new system had cost taxpayers almost £500m and that the numbers returning to prison for breaching their licence conditions had "skyrocketed".

And chief probation inspector Dame Glenys Stacey said the model of part-privatisation was "irredeemably flawed" and people would be safer under a system delivered by the public sector. 

 

Private good public bad. Trough, trough. 

I can't see how you can really have a private company running something that doesn't actually generate a product or service that is chargeable. 

You can certainly reduce costs and run things more efficiently, but that has to come to an end eventually and there is nothing stopping a publicly owned company doing the same (I know they don't).

Transport and utilities you can make a case for, something like a the probation service I don't think you can. The only way to turn a profit is cut corners or offer a worse service.

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2 minutes ago, gilf said:

I can't see how you can really have a private company running something that doesn't actually generate a product or service that is chargeable. 

You can certainly reduce costs and run things more efficiently, but that has to come to an end eventually and there is nothing stopping a publicly owned company doing the same (I know they don't).

Transport and utilities you can make a case for, something like a the probation service I don't think you can. The only way to turn a profit is cut corners or offer a worse service.

This.

There is a huge problem with defining "soft" targets and they are easily gamed.  There was a big contract ?Jobstart given to a private company with the aim of getting young NEETs (not in education, emplyment or training) into work.

Mostly they just sent people for interviews for jobs which they were never going to get - tick, got interview, target reached - or for jobs that they were never going to sustain - tick, started job, target reached.  It rarely genuinely helped anybody it just appeared to do so.

I am a huge fan of privatisation and outsourcing when the contract is managed closely and correctly but I struggle to see how it could ever work in the probation service.

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6 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

This.

There is a huge problem with defining "soft" targets and they are easily gamed.  There was a big contract ?Jobstart given to a private company with the aim of getting young NEETs (not in education, emplyment or training) into work.

Mostly they just sent people for interviews for jobs which they were never going to get - tick, got interview, target reached - or for jobs that they were never going to sustain - tick, started job, target reached.  It rarely genuinely helped anybody it just appeared to do so.

I am a huge fan of privatisation and outsourcing when the contract is managed closely and correctly but I struggle to see how it could ever work in the probation service.

Good response frank. There are many things where it won’t work for exactly the reasons you state. Educashun is one such area. Proper educationalists will focus on the learning journey, for profit organisations, the certification. There is a conflict of interest in the second model. The learner is usually disadvantaged through this

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The probation service should in public hands but I have no problem small mundane low risk bits of it being privatised. 

Regarding privatisation as a whole, there just aren't any simple answers. Natural monopolies are awful things to put in private hands for the end user and the tax payer. Yet left to the government to run you get waste, bureaucracy, incompetence and management fat cats.

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17 minutes ago, gibbon said:

The probation service should in public hands but I have no problem small mundane low risk bits of it being privatised. 

Regarding privatisation as a whole, there just aren't any simple answers. Natural monopolies are awful things to put in private hands for the end user and the tax payer. Yet left to the government to run you get waste, bureaucracy, incompetence and management fat cats.

The only thing worse than a private sector is a public sector monopoly.

 

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2 minutes ago, spygirl said:

The only thing worse than a private sector is a public sector monopoly.

 

Nope. I’ve seen things outsourced to private companies and they have done it shockingly badly, normally employing people who are frankly not up to the job. Massive fraud too 

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I forget the details now but at the hospital Trust where I work some service that Serco provided was now going to be brought under direct control. 

The argument for it was something like 'cost savings'. Which was probably the same 'smoke and mirrors' argument for contracting out whatever service it was to Serco in the first place! 

 

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Just now, UmBongo said:

I forget the details now but at the hospital Trust where I work some service that Serco provided was now going to be brought under direct control. 

The argument for it was something like 'cost savings'. Which was probably the same 'smoke and mirrors' argument for contracting out whatever service it was to Serco in the first place! 

 

Serco was Gollum in that film.

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Just now, One percent said:

Nope. I’ve seen things outsourced to private companies and they have done it shockingly badly, normally employing people who are frankly not up to the job. Massive fraud too 

Contract can be pulled.

Private sector firms can - and do - go bankrupt:

People lose their jobs.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/15/interserve-to-go-into-administration-after-shareholders-reject-deal

 

North Staffs Hospital:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/06/mid-staffs-hospital-scandal-guide

Or Southern Health:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-35982803/southern-health-criticised-nhs-trust-boss-won-t-resign

 

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As far the NHS, youll be surprised how little is public sector.

Building hospitals? Private sector.

Medicine? Private sector.

Beds, consumables, whatnot? Private sector.

Employees, unfunded pension? Mainly public sector.

 

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4 minutes ago, spygirl said:

They weren’t though as it was ideologically driven. Small companies who had not a clue what they were doing, rinn8ng crap vocational courses and creaming off loads of money using staff that had neither the qualifications or experience to do it. Everyone knew it was a sham but all turned a blind eye to it 

remember the visa scams?  That too was driven by ideology 

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There is no need to privatise things that are for the public good IMO. What is required is a massive change of culture to make all public sector employees, from top to bottom of the organisations, accountable and above all sackable.

Public sector jobs are viewed as a job for life with good pensions no matter how badly you do your job, how much sick leave you take etc, and in general they are. Kill that culture and the efficiency will improve, there's no need to feed public money to Tory politician's friends to run public services.

I always wondered why a Tory government had never sought to change the employment terms and culture of the public sector, but of course I was naive - they prefer to push the "public bad private good" dogma so they can award fat contracts to companies owned or directed by their private school friends.

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1 minute ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

There is no need to privatise things that are for the public good IMO. What is required is a massive change of culture to make all public sector employees, from top to bottom of the organisations, accountable and above all sackable.

Public sector jobs are viewed as a job for life with good pensions no matter how badly you do your job, how much sick leave you take etc, and in general they are. Kill that culture and the efficiency will improve, there's no need to feed public money to Tory politician's friends to run public services.

I always wondered why a Tory government had never sought to change the employment terms and culture of the public sector, but of course I was naive - they prefer to push the "public bad private good" dogma so they can award fat contracts to companies owned or directed by their private school friends.

I'm pretty sure a lot of brown envelopes changed hands in the washrooms at Victoria station.

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I highly doubt it. In fact, I'm convinced the reason the politicians are so keen on road pricing is nothing to do with the environment, but more because it means every motorway can be nicely packaged up with its own individual yield. 

 

Whatever isnt nailed down, the tories will sell in order so they can say 'look, we got the deficit down'  (by selling the country out from under us...yeah, great guys. Real long term thinking) 

If they werent being held to account by an actual labour government, they'd have spent the last few years selling off schools, hospitals, roads etc .

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18 minutes ago, spygirl said:

As far the NHS, youll be surprised how little is public sector.

Building hospitals? Private sector.

Medicine? Private sector.

Beds, consumables, whatnot? Private sector.

Employees, unfunded pension? Mainly public sector.

 

Well, its paid for via taxes, anyway. 

End of the day, most things will be private sector, unless the gubbermint is going to start building cars, starting its own recruitment agencies etc. 

 

Even in our socialist 1960s heyday (when taxes were still probably a smaller part of the economy than today!) look at any old roadbuilding photo and all the machinery is private contractors, not 'HIGHWAYS AGENCY: PLANT DIVISION' or something. 

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