Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 27 Aug 2015 20:07:35 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Eamon Sloan #24 and 25 recall the existence of Hong Kong. Thu 10 Mar 2011 22:43:07 GMT+1 U14800543 Dear moderatorsWas my last post removed beacause of its content,or because of my user name? (formerly 'the new statesman') still feeling my way in and have no wish to be offensive, if i post something 'tongue in cheek' Please let me know if close to the wire is TOO CLOSE TO THE WIRE! Many Thanks Wed 02 Mar 2011 14:13:49 GMT+1 U14800543 This post has been Removed Wed 02 Mar 2011 13:56:03 GMT+1 jon112dk 32. At 07:29am on 23 Feb 2011, Whistling NeilI'm afraid there is an expectation that people will work free of charge once the government labels something as 'not the role of the state'Cameron seems to be pretty clear about wanting people to work free to provide library services and a wide rage of services for the elderly. Personally I say NO: in other circumstances I would help other people but not if it is a scam to put decent people out of work and have me do their job for free. If others do this I have no hesitation in calling them unethical.I tend to agree that there is little difference between doctors, nurses, managers and administrators working to provide health care at an NHS trust or the exact same people made unemployed and then working down the road at a not for profit 'charity' hospital. The only difference is likely to be increased bureaucracy, increased fragmentation and decreased accountability - it is about tory ideology and ducking responsibility. Option (F) earn more - I don't mean everyone get a second job. I mean as an individual or a nation you have two basic answers to debt: spend less or earn more. I favour earning more. In the case of the disunited kingdom I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on growth - not ideologically motivated cuts that may well have made things worse by inhibiting growth. Wed 23 Feb 2011 16:35:56 GMT+1 BluesBerry Grassroots Government gets a huge step forward in putting you six feet under.UK hospital staff to lose jobs: @ 50,000. This number includes doctors, nurses, midwives and other related staff currently employed by the UK's National Health Service (NHS). In fact the number more closely approximates: 54,000 jobs across - 160 hospital trusts, - 130 primary care trusts, - 25 ambulance trusts and - 60 mental health trusts in England, as well as - 15 Scottish trusts, - 9 Welsh trusts and - 6 trusts in Northern Ireland.These statistics were obtained via Freedom of Information Requests. In short, almost every trust in the UK has devulged that it has planned to dismiss staff.When?Over the next four years. The statistics have come from The Trade Union Congress (TUC) which submitted the requests as part of its "False Economy Campaign" against the public spending cuts.University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust was reported to be forecasting a reduction of 1,349 full-time posts by 2015 - 23% of its staff. The British Medical Association has warned that patient care would inevitably suffer, and I have to agree with that. Someone needs to ask David Cameron how, under the Big Society, communities are supposed to cope with this extensive reduction to medical staff. Wed 23 Feb 2011 15:06:53 GMT+1 bigsammyb Cameron keeps saying he wants to:-'give power to the people'With his 'big society' idea. However what it achieves is the total opposite of what he claims. It is not power to the people it is power to a select group of individuals that are not answeable in any way to the electorate.For instance if my local school, doctors etc are run by local people independant of government i have to use those services but have no say whatsoever in how they are run.The reason government are meant to run local services is that if we don't like the services we are getting we can make our feelings known at the ballot box.So what if, for instance, every school in my area becomes an acadamy and they all decide they want to be reliegous schools?I am left with a choice of sending my child to a jewish, christian or islamic school. I have no say over the availability of education in my area i have to essentially 'put up or shut up'.Well i don't want to send my child to a reliegous school as i consider that to be child abuse. So where can i make my feelings known? The answer is i can't because the government have removed themselves from any kind of accountability. If i complained to my MP he would say:-'its not my fault, we don't run things any more'And its not just education what if i don't like how my doctors is run or the local hospital? In such a system all these things will end up being run by unaccountable local busybodies with too much time on their hands.And make no mistake the government want this to happen not to make things better but so they can cripple the county councils all over the UK. It is a idealogical plan not a plan to make things better.Local schools suffer from academy status because they lose the services they could of bought from the county council. Ergo they are not effectively buying along with all the other schools in the area.This means serrvices for schools like internet access or sourcing equipment go up in price and reduce in value.This saves the government money but this is mroe than that. cameon is semi privatising the educational system and the healthcare system on some kind of deluded belief market forces will create quality.Well you can't run education and helathcare as a free market entity because these things don't make money. Everyone needs an education, everyone needs healthcare. You can't insure such things. Wed 23 Feb 2011 10:21:07 GMT+1 holly_bush_berry I agree with those who suggest:*Postcode lottery*Backdoor privatisation*LoonyTunesThe whole idea of a "welfare state" was as a safety net with a bottom line that at least promised more than a visit to a charity provider. The whole idea of national health was of a healthy productive culture where health risk was shared amongst millions of paying customers and claimants were always largely outnumbered. It enabled the State to use "profit" from this 'outnumbering' in a very clever way to benefit all the people instead of just a few. It was a simple but very effective idea spoiled by political vandals many, many times over, and most spoiled by the greed culture spitefully administered by Thatcher and those of her ilk.Cameron had better be careful because before too long there'll be a lot of people coming for him. Wed 23 Feb 2011 09:39:41 GMT+1 AMJHAJ Re #33:Neil, you'll need to keep whistling ...In Scotland we haven't squandered vast sums on PFI and other privatisation (with unproven benefits), not to the same extent as England (though Labour were starting to try this in Scotland, up to 2007).I think you'll find that Scotland is a net exporter of wealth to England (and, no, I'm not 'just' talking about oil). A lot of these monies are pashed against a wall.Surely the answer is for England to have its own parliament? Then we can forget about likes of Westminster, and the union. Wed 23 Feb 2011 08:20:46 GMT+1 Whistling Neil 31. At 9:30pm on 22 Feb 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:Thank goodness that we in Scotland have devolution. Independence currently seems an ever better option (sorry, rest of the UK).I fear that in a year or two many in England will be looking enviously at Scotland's services, once Dave's big experiment goes pear-shaped. And I say that even if Labour were to get back into power in Scotland (perish the thought).================================We can all look enviously at Scotlands services and also too easily work out how they can be so different - the amount spent from UK central government per person on them is significantly higher than in England.However Salmond is not so stupid as to realise that an independent Scotland would be able to fund itself and maintain these levels of services without the funding from the central UK pot. He realises the fantasy economic figures he uses to argue the case are just that - fantasy. Wed 23 Feb 2011 07:40:58 GMT+1 Whistling Neil 30. At 7:07pm on 22 Feb 2011, jon112dk wrote:27. At 4:36pm on 22 Feb 2011, Whistling NeilYou're not getting my point Neil - maybe I'm not putting it clearly.I'm not criticising the 3rd sector for paying their staff, I'm criticising the idea that you can make ordinary people who earn a living from public services redundant, have them live in poverty, and then expect people to provide public services for free as some sort of hobby.============================== It is much more clearly put this time around.There is no expectation of provision of public services as a hobby even from the the 3rd sector. The message which the PM has thoroughly botched is that of the traditional small state conservatism where there is a core of what is provided by the state and society (or business or charity) provides the rest for itself according to its wants or needs.The debate therefore resides around what is core and what is not - this is the crux of debate, what should be provided and how to deliver it to best effect. What is an essential service and what is a nice to have - sometimes nice to haves cannot be afforded so must be provided for if valued in other ways. WE have things like the RNLI which I would argue if it didn't exist we should probably invent it - yet this is entirely charitably funded and volunteer staffed mostly. The link in the original blog piece to the surrey health practitioners is a very good link, this is fundamentally what is envisaged not shutting down what exists and hoping a charity will come along or the previous job holders will pop along for the odd half day inbetween job searching.Many social services have been provided on behalf of society by charitities for a long time - however as with every outsourcing exercise you find that the core people who do the job remain the same but within the commisioning organisation you have a management structure to validate and monitor delivery quality and then a separate management structure within the outsourcer doing precisely the same thing - these are the two groups who are in contact and cost. We can go out an earn more but don't forget that for every person taking a 2nd job that is potentially someone else who cannot take a 1st job (in some cases). Currently exports are rising and employment is rising.For mass production and the jobs that go with it to return it will require a reduction in the cost of living here such that our labour force is competitive - crudely you wouldn't make it elsewhere and ship it here because it was cheaper to do it here.I think I have a little more faith in the British people than you may have , when all the fear and politicking is done with and the structure becomes clearer then we will see not so much will have changed and there will be opportunities to be had.Sadly the unions seem intent on missing the biggest opportunity they have ever had - there is nothing in any of the plans that says the unions cannot organise their members to become social enterprises and bid for these contracts to provided services - thus watching out for their members and the scoiety they claim to care about. Too much responsibility for them? Woried that the salaries the heads of these bodies pay themselves will be seen for the troughing they represent? Or just too thick to understand the opportunity (my personal favourite. Wed 23 Feb 2011 07:29:41 GMT+1 AMJHAJ Thank goodness that we in Scotland have devolution. Independence currently seems an ever better option (sorry, rest of the UK).I fear that in a year or two many in England will be looking enviously at Scotland's services, once Dave's big experiment goes pear-shaped. And I say that even if Labour were to get back into power in Scotland (perish the thought). Tue 22 Feb 2011 21:30:10 GMT+1 jon112dk 27. At 4:36pm on 22 Feb 2011, Whistling NeilYou're not getting my point Neil - maybe I'm not putting it clearly.I'm not criticising the 3rd sector for paying their staff, I'm criticising the idea that you can make ordinary people who earn a living from public services redundant, have them live in poverty, and then expect people to provide public services for free as some sort of hobby.As you say, no one is expecting the bosses to do their work for free - not even the bosses of 'charities'Of the options you present, I favour (F) generate some more income. Last time the tories were in and my mortgage nearly broke me I didn't give up my house and live in a cardboard box under a railway bridge, I got a second job and earned more to keep me going.I hoped that was what we were going to do on a national scale but unfortunately despite a global upturn after the recession the tories appear to have trashed the recovery in the disunited kingdom. It looks like we are going for option (E) Tue 22 Feb 2011 19:07:09 GMT+1 newshounduk The problem with a bottom up approach is that you lose the overview that allows you to see omissions and duplications of services.You may have greater grassroot involvement but you may also have great wastage of funds as different organisations provide the same services in an unco-ordinated way.You may also get different standards of service as each contributing organisation does things with their own manner.I do think we will need a national cordinating authority which not only allocates named services to specific local organisations to be implemented by them but also supervises and monitors what they do, how they do it and at what cost. Tue 22 Feb 2011 18:40:13 GMT+1 BluesBerry The British Prime Minister has apparently disclosed his plans to privatize all of the UK's public sector as part of his Big Society Plan. The David Cameron, apparently revealed his BIG PLANS for the Daily Telegraph. He wrote he wanted to end the “state monopoly” over public services by removing all barriers to the private sector taking over schools, hospitals, transport system, and all other council services. Cameron said that these changes will be announced in a white paper soon; the changes would release the public sector from its “grip of state control” and give power back to the people. To the people, or to huge business conglomerates? Under his proposals, THE Coalition ministers would be given the right to sell-off public services WITHOUT parliamentary scrutiny. His plans have already triggered a backlash from the unions and public sector; both warned that privatization on such a scale would completely handicap people's abilities to hold elected bodies accountable. Trade Union Congress (TUC) Brendan Barber: “Privatisation replaces democratic oversight and accountability with a contract culture. Voters and service users lose their say..." Public service workers, of course, should be extremely apprehensive. Profits will come from undercutting their terms and conditions. Is this Big Society about modernization, cost cutting, or is it about privatisation, creating an open market for the Tories' friends & associates in big business to make billions. I really liked the quote from The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) General Secretary Bob Crow who said: Tories would “privatize the air we breathe” if they could get away with it. Communist Party of Britain General Secretary, Rob Griffiths:“Mr Cameron's Big Society will hand over the public sector to a handful of monopolies. This underlines the need for united action to block Con-Dem policies and bring down a government which has no democratic mandate.” Well, Rob Griffiths certainly has a point there! Tue 22 Feb 2011 17:16:16 GMT+1 Whistling Neil 23. At 1:36pm on 22 Feb 2011, jon112dkJon, you are scathing about everything and everyone, it just isn't healthy. Who can tell whether specifically you dislike this policy (though most find BS to be well, like its initials) as there never has been anything you have agreed with or thought a good idea from anyone. I have you down as an anarchist or worse a troll - doesn't actually matter what the policy is you don't like it on principle.So what if there are many 60k plus jobs in the 3rd sector - for the scale of these organisations and the skills required in many cases they need professional running and sometimes you have to accept that the people doing these jobs could just as easily pick from other similarly renumerated or in most cases significantly higher renumerated jobs in the private sector. If you want large charities run for free by altruistic people then good luck, don't expect you will find any that meet your criteria - the Gates may work for nothing but their staff still get paid. Compare the salaries for some of these posts to those for similar size organisations in the private sector - I would be very surprised if you find these posts are upper quartile payments for the skills and size of organisation. That said there are bound to be some bad examples, there always are - Remploy springs to mind as a v.poor example of greedy management who forgot what it is they do. Social enterprise does not mean doing your old job for free or minimum wage to make ends meet. A full privatisation is more likely to result in the lowering of wages to create profit where little potential exists or should exist. There is no reason a social enterprise or mixed model should result in people providing decent services without beggaring themselves into the bargain. The other aspect you fail to grasp or refuse to believe is that there is only so much money to go around - with the coming demographic timebomb and the services that will be required and our profligate economic management for the last 30/40 years unfortunately we cannot afford to do everything no matter how worthy it may be.The stark choice which all politicians duck is this - we have a large number of things which are currently provided free to all which have not and never have been earned or paid for. They have been bought on the never never. Now is the day when there is no money to pay for them and no prospect that there will be in future - so the message which is there and which the PM has badly fumbled is this: If you value it find some other way to retain it that can be afforded because unfortunately we can no longer. The government is open to ideas about how to save these things but it is not going to mandate they be saved or how this is done. It is a choice to make - there are consequences of any choices - if you continue nay saying every choice, the result is ruination. Think of it like this. MR Z has a gardener but is faced with financial problems - does he : A: tell the gardener he will have to work for free (likely to result in a high absenteeism rate) and see E.B: lay off the gardner and do the garden himself rather than playing golfC: pay the gardner insted of paying the mortgage.D: get another credit card to pay for the gardner in the hopes things might get better on their own. E: let the gardner go and let the garden become a unkempt mess.F: Go out and do some extra work to earn the money to continue to pay for the gardner.Neither choice is consequence free for Mr Z. So pick a choice and accept the consequence. Tue 22 Feb 2011 16:36:53 GMT+1 Mark_Milton_Keynes In reply to lacplesis37 who feels there is no roadmap to get there from here and raises questions about continuity, accountability, potential costs and risks etc etc - I wonder if he/she is a civil servant trained to raise objections and kick any new idea into the long grass?It all seems like a standard delaying tactic - let's do a risk assessment / bring in consultants / have a judicial review... ANY new approach will have some risks, and will have questions that can't be answered at the start. The whole point of this type of change is not to micro-manage but to set up a framework where people can be innovative and flexible, then leave them to get on with it and find solutions.If you wait until all i's are dotted and all t's crossed you will never change anything. Such caution might be justified if the present system were working brilliantly, but it so clearly isn't that making an improvement won't be hard.I've worked in the UK motor indusry - destroyed by unions with political agendas. My wife is the daughter of a miner - his pit and many others closed thanks to Scargill's political strikes. The tube drivers' union recently proposed industrial action because they thought staff being paid triple time to work on Boxing Day wasn't enough. Council "Chief Executives" (basically jumped-up Town Clerks) being paid £200K+. Breaking up the public-sector monoliths will weaken union power and make the service-providers more responsive - you never know, we might even find one or two of the worst teams and departments being closed down so they get replaced by someone who does things better.As for saying that these plans weren't in "either the Conservative of LIBDem manifestos" - look up the word "liberal" and you will find it is to do with progressive political reform, and maximum individual freedom. It is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all system dictated by a single authority.As for watriler asking "since when was the consumer of the private sector ever 'king'"? Try looking at the innovation and value-for-money of mobile phones, cars, computers, budget airlines, clothes, supermarkets... They all offer improvement year-on-year and amazing choice - so yes, the consumer is most definitely king. Tue 22 Feb 2011 16:13:47 GMT+1 Arrrgh America land of the free and a total shambles.China - centrally controlled economy - buying up the world and bailing everyone out.There tells a story of the Tories looking back to the 20th century for answers of the 21st century.We need a dictatorship and I volunteer for the first 10 years. Tue 22 Feb 2011 13:58:29 GMT+1 Arrrgh From the above - As one of the architects of the so-called "post-bureaucratic age", Oliver Letwin argued to the Public Administration Select Committee recently: "I think the whole history of the world, which is quite a large, rich evidence base, suggests that very highly structured command economies and very highly micromanaged societies have fared very badly, have not done well for their citizens and not lasted terribly wrong."Ever heard of China? Tue 22 Feb 2011 13:38:43 GMT+1 jon112dk 19. At 12:11pm on 22 Feb 2011, Whistling Neil Paying poverty wages is not a sustainable business plan - pay peanuts get monkeys is a truism not a cliche. ==============================================Yet that is exactly their business plan with regard to their underlings. Indeed, where possible they will get people to work for nothing.If you think there are only 'one off' examples of high pay to senior people in the 3rd sector, go take a look at Guardian jobs. They have 9 for over £60k today.(Have a read back on previous topics from Mark's blog, I think you will find I am fairly scathing of cameron's BS scam for us underclasses to live in poverty and do our old jobs - or someone else's - for free) Tue 22 Feb 2011 13:36:01 GMT+1 Absurdity101 I've just read the policy document on which these policies will be based (google 'Payment for Success KPMG'). I'm shocked on two levels (well many, but two main levels), firstly the scope of the privatisation proposed, on a level even Thatcher would never have tried, and secondly that the proposed privatisation of vast swathes of our public services seems to be getting very little coverage in the mainstream media. This is one of the most important proposed changes to the way this country works since the end of WWII and is recieving no widespread debate. Politics truely is smoke and mirrors these days. Tue 22 Feb 2011 13:31:59 GMT+1 BluesBerry I don't know about you, but I find "grassroots Government" where the NHS is concerned far too close to six feet under the grass.As for the "public sector workers, the turmoil and uncertainty of the changes undermines confidence. Many fear that the terms and conditions of their employment are eroding and that the ethos of public service is being damaged."FEAR, fear is what I feel when I read about the UK Big Society. Fear of Finances, fear of job security...From a recebt poll:• 50% fear the economy will be damaged by cutbacks• 80% fear they will be worse off each month by up to £300 because of the cuts• 60% fear about losing their jobFEAR.Due to the BIG Society and the breakdown in highly specilized delivery systems, like NHS, many of 2,000 people recently surveyed in the UK are FEARful, especially because of VAT and the INFLATION RATE that has risen by 3.7%.2.5M people are unemployed in Britain.I fear that the planned cuts are worse than what the Government is saying; the Government is not being totally upfront.The sheer scale of the cuts is starting to become a huge FEAR for people in the UK today. Inflation up; jobs axed.65% of people know people (or they themselves are worried) about their job role in the public sector due to the cuts.FEAR is wounding the UK as much as the actual cuts. The FEAR over the Government cuts has impacted people's lives, stopped them making life changing decisions, stopping them from large purchases or even - getting married, - having a baby, - changing homes, or renovating the current home- going on holiday and/or- buying a car. "The plan is for great chunks of the health service to be provided by non-state providers: private firms, social enterprises, charities, mutuals and co-operatives. It has already begun."Do you feel thre FEAR?Do you ask: Where and when is this going to stop? What will really happen to me should I get sick or my children get sick?Why am I suffering all this FEAR when I did not cause the problem?Why is my Government so timid to challenge the real guilty party head on i.e. the financial sector. Tue 22 Feb 2011 13:19:33 GMT+1 D_H_Wilko I think Cameron is pushing this idea so hard because he wants to start his own fight with the unions. All he'd need then is a handbag and a wig. Get all those wannabes angry about union power and lefties. Tue 22 Feb 2011 12:59:41 GMT+1 Whistling Neil 18. At 09:08am on 22 Feb 2011, jon112dk wrote:17. At 07:16am on 22 Feb 2011, Whistling NeilThese organisations - and I see the so called 'charities' as no different - should not be mistaken for altruistic, hair shirt volunteer organisations.Although they are happy to have the people at the bottom on minimum wage - or better yet, conned into working for free - the guys at the top are far from starving.Have a look on the web for some of the job adverts for the more senior people - they may not have shareholders, but the chosen few are making a very nice living. Many of them are making that nice living out tax payer money.====================So have you given up your job yet to work for free in some worthy cause? and survive off your savings alone. So what if these organisations have well renumerated positions within their structure, to attract people with talent and capabilities then you have to have a realistic reflection of that in the wage packet if it is to be someones job. Paying poverty wages is not a sustainable business plan - pay peanuts get monkeys is a truism not a cliche. I had promised myself I would not reply to your comments as they are usually pointlessly rude, though you managed a civil reply this time.The world is grey - it is not black and white as you would like it appears.There will be good and bad examples of all but one anecdote does not prove anything except the old maxim : there will always be exceptions that prove the rule. Tue 22 Feb 2011 12:11:00 GMT+1 jon112dk 17. At 07:16am on 22 Feb 2011, Whistling NeilThese organisations - and I see the so called 'charities' as no different - should not be mistaken for altruistic, hair shirt volunteer organisations.Although they are happy to have the people at the bottom on minimum wage - or better yet, conned into working for free - the guys at the top are far from starving.Have a look on the web for some of the job adverts for the more senior people - they may not have shareholders, but the chosen few are making a very nice living. Many of them are making that nice living out tax payer money. Tue 22 Feb 2011 09:08:22 GMT+1 Whistling Neil 16. At 11:06pm on 21 Feb 2011, greybunker44 wrote:Well! well! well! David Cameron is turning out to be a true blue right wing tory. Not really surprising as he along with most of the goverment he went to the true blue tory educational establishments.On a more serious note, I agree with those who say that private industry's track record in running 'public services' is pretty poor. not surprising when they have to make money and providing trains, buses, letter delivery (in due course!) to remote locations will not do this.The 'not for profit organisation' sounds interesting. What is the model for this?======================BUPA - a long established private health provider that has no shareholders so reinvests every penny back into improving healthcare for its customers and to gain new ones. Social enterprises would be expected to work along the same lines - they must generate sufficient income to reinvest and improve their businesses which in this case means local services. Tue 22 Feb 2011 07:16:48 GMT+1 greybunker44 Well! well! well! David Cameron is turning out to be a true blue right wing tory. Not really surprising as he along with most of the goverment he went to the true blue tory educational establishments.On a more serious note, I agree with those who say that private industry's track record in running 'public services' is pretty poor. not surprising when they have to make money and providing trains, buses, letter delivery (in due course!) to remote locations will not do this.The 'not for profit organisation' sounds interesting. What is the model for this? Mon 21 Feb 2011 23:06:38 GMT+1 Andrew Dundas It's never possible to make any 'market system' in most health care. Not just because of ethical considerations. But because there is unequal knowledge of the service between the parties. Nor do those crucial decision makers pay the bill either. For those reasons,it's pointless to try to make such a 'market system' as Minister Lansley proposes.In all Health Service systems there are at least three quite separate parties to each treatment: end user, supplier and payee. For most other transactions, there are only two parties: the buyer/payee and the seller/provider: between them, they come to balance supply with demand. In the absence of such a level marketplace, health care cannot ever be at all like a classic 'competitive market'. There is the patient (who wants some treatment for her symptoms), the Medics (who are best placed to know which treatment is appropriate & how much they will earn from that) and the payee. In the British case, the payee is the government on behalf of a fourth party: the taxpayer. Elsewhere, the payee is some sort of insurance company with the same problem: how to tell whether the treatment proposed is either necessary or efficient?. In almost no instances is there simply a buyer and a seller with near equal knowledge of what's needed. As happens in most other transactions.The 2004 NHS plan was the really radical plan that should be built upon rather than replaced with yet another experiment. That plan was that both GPs and Hospitals would work towards an arms-length relationship with government using a standardised 'price list' for each category of treatments. Taxpayer and patient interests were represented by local consortia described as Patient Care Trusts that tried to predict local demands and ensure BOTH GPs, hospitals, dentists and other providers made provision for them.It was part of the logic of that system that hospitals would concentrate on whatever treatments were most common in their region and their own specialities. Moreover, if GPs could carry out the treatments themselves, they were (for the first time ever) allowed to be paid for those procedures. It is a shame that our political system encourages rival Parties to seek change for change sake. It would be much more efficient to build upon the system that has been unfolding over the last six years rather than introducing yet another administrative change. Mon 21 Feb 2011 22:39:41 GMT+1 HumberWolf Why has there been so little coverage about this by the BBC? Events in Libya are tragic, but to allow proposals which amount to the most egregious blow to our public services go vitually ignored is scandalous. These proposals, if they go through, will see the end of the welfare state as we all know it. Private companies can do many things well, but if they are allowed to take over the reigns in vital public services it will be the beginning of the end. You only have to look at what has happened to the railways, utilities and telecomms to see what happens - the thought of such disgraceful handling of services being applied to hospitals and schools makes my blood run cold.Cameron has allowed his ideology to run too far this time. He has no mandate to propose this, and he must forced to admit to yet another U-turn. Mon 21 Feb 2011 22:26:37 GMT+1 secondmugwump Mr Easton - are you afraid of using the correct term to describe the Big Society - communitarianism? Mon 21 Feb 2011 22:22:22 GMT+1 goethe I work in the Children and Young People's Service in Hull and it is taking a massive and disproportionate cut as council officers desperately and chaotically try to shore up through restructuring the last vestiges of Safeguarding and Child Protection in this country. This situation has purely been created by the rapidity with which these Draconian cuts in the Local Based Area Grants are being imposed on Local Authorities by Central Government. Mon 21 Feb 2011 22:17:30 GMT+1 arrbee We already know what will happen with this; the large-value contracts will go to local companies set up by current high-earners in the council, who will then sell out after a year or two to a 'First Bus' equivalent and pocket a nice profit. We will end up with large national companies running almost all of these 'community' services as effective monopolies and local accountability vanish forever.Of course if the government includes legal measures to ensure transparency of all agreements (none of this commercial confidentiality rubbish), a clear non-negotiable definition of a 'failing' service and corresponding financial penalties, a clear statement on the legal liabilities that will be taken over along with the services by these organisations, and limits on how much a single commercial interest can take on nationwide, then maybe this wont be another disaster for the rest of us to pay for - me, I'm not holding my breath. Mon 21 Feb 2011 21:31:02 GMT+1 dunstruggling Sir Phillip Green conducted an enquiry for this government on procurement and efficiency and reported that insufficient opportunity had been taken to maximise the public sector's buying power; one result was an agreement across police forces to have a single livery on police cars and buy from just four suppliers such efficiency stretch across to the emerging picture of localised services? A fragmented patchwork of services which don't join up and repeat inefficiencies seems to be more likely. Mon 21 Feb 2011 21:07:29 GMT+1 David Cole Not for profit companies sound too god to be true. I thought the point of companies was to make a profit. I would also like someone to explain to me why privatised services should be more efficient short of cutting wages, worsening working conditions and scrapping services which don't pay. Just look at the buses which no longer serve outlying areas and have become so expensive that I wonder just how sincere governments are when they wish to cut carbon emissions by reducing the use of cars. Mon 21 Feb 2011 20:57:17 GMT+1 Lanterne rouge I love the way the media is portraying this as 'grassroots government.' It is nothing more than privatisation of public services resulting in compulsory competitive tendering, short term gains for the private sector but long term losses for the public who receive the services. First health, then education, now local government. Maybe we should get rid of MP's and have the bankers running the country....hang on they do ( the coffee: Cameron is implementing a radical set of right wing, free market economy, Friedmanist reforms that even Thatcher knew was a step too far. The world has not seen this level of reform since Pinochet took over in Chile! Glenn Beck will be proud. Mon 21 Feb 2011 20:38:29 GMT+1 jon112dk Of course the NHS already is fragmented - the last tory government split it into hundreds of 'trusts' all headed by their own chairman, chief exec, director of HR, director of finance, clinical director, director of nursing, non-exec directors etc etc.Every time they fragment it - each new organisation needs all these things.They also need other organisations to purchase their services, organisations to monitor the quality of their services and yet more organisations to ensure they 'work in partnership' on specific jobs or client groups. The previous tory governments 'purchaser/provider split' lead to a huge blossoming of bureaucracy - I think this latest fragmentation will only increase it further. Mon 21 Feb 2011 20:00:27 GMT+1 studentforever I have only one comment - post code lottery anyone? Mon 21 Feb 2011 19:59:42 GMT+1 watriler It appears that massive parts of the public sector will be forced by the centre/top to invite, perhaps encourage open season on their services for private contractors and charities to pick and choose the abundant cherries. Anybody who knows the private sector and charities will tell you it is not about efficiency or giving back decisions to professional or putting the service users in the driving seat. Since when was the consumer of the private sector ever 'king'. Will we see Ryanair running the patient experience service or BP managing the hospital facilities or Jarvis doing essential maintenance of operating theatres. This is about Adam Smith head bangers being in control and letting rip. Mon 21 Feb 2011 19:55:29 GMT+1 lacplesis37 The problem with this latest announcement likemany other by this governemnt is that there appears to be no road map to get from A to B. people rely on many of the services suppliued by the public sector & continuity can't be left to chance. How will these new services be accountable? Will they be allowed to charge for their services or make a profit? is this just another way of cutting Government costs? What are the potential costs and risks? I'm afraid this looks like another pronouncement by a group of people who have no experience of managing anything and, I fear, are more interested in breaking up the public sector than in the effects on those who receive these services. I also don't recall any of this in either the Conservative of LIBDem manifestos. Mon 21 Feb 2011 19:47:19 GMT+1 John Ellis If he does it to slow then we will see the full con.Now once all our services are sold of i do hope he ain't expecting his council tax as ill need it to pay for all the private services the government used to provided for my service payment to UK Gov.Plc. After all they will have little legal claim to this money for services they are no longer providing me or anyone else.I/We Uk will need this finance to build our big society.So the question is what are we paying for now?or will UK govt having washed its hands of responsibility collect the services money and pay the appropriate services on our behalf??? Mon 21 Feb 2011 19:35:35 GMT+1 kaybraes I'm old enough to remember the euphoria that surrounded the birth of the NHS, the National Coal Board , British rail, nationalised public transport , power companies etc and the great slogan of the time "run by the people, for the people ". This very quickly became " run by the unions, for the unions ". Where now are these great institutions ? With the exception of the NHS, they were all bled dry , failed to fulfill their purpose and disappeared back into private ownership. Unless there is a dramatic reorganisation of the NHS, it like the rest will reach a point where it's enormous administrative cost creates such a drain on the economy that it too will be beyond sustaining. Mon 21 Feb 2011 19:23:33 GMT+1 Phantom There was a very good reason why we developed a welfare state over the last century and that was because of the conclusive evidence of the failure of the Victorian model of care which had been based on charites, cooperatives, altruism etc - they might have called it the big society... Mon 21 Feb 2011 18:45:28 GMT+1