Anybody Else Think This Is A Bit Odd?

Shared Services Connected Limited is a new company set up by French company Steria Ltd, who own 75% of the company and the British Government own the remaining 25%.

The government has outsourced a number of its administrative functions to Shared Services Connected Ltd, and about 1200 staff from DWP and DEFRA amongst others are now employed by Shared Sevices Connected Ltd which hasn’t pleased the PCS Union.

The Ministry of Justice also has an outsourcing contract with Shared Services a Connected Ltd which the PCS Union anticipate will result in redundancies and office closures.

Shared Services Connected Ltd has already taken over back offices across the country for the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Environment Agency. It is now looking at taking over work at the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

Within a year, it started a closure programme of sites affecting more than 500 jobs in Sheffield, Cardiff, Newport and Leeds and is looking to relocate the work to India. Other centres such as Blackpool, Newcastle, Peterborough and York will also lose staff.

So it seems as though the Cabinet Office, headed by David Camoron has a 25% stake in a company closing down government offices and making civil service staff redundant.

As I pointed out yesterday, the  Metropolitan Police has formally made the decision to outsource finance, procurement and HR to Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL), the majority of which is owned by Sopra Steria.

But it’s not all bad news, at least they haven’t got any contracts with our beloved NHS have they?

Oh yes.

NHS Shared Business Services is the largest provider of business support services to the NHS in England.

NHS SBS is a unique joint venture between the Department of Health and Sopra Steria.

Our mission is delivering savings of £224 million for the NHS by 2015; which was achieved 15 months ahead of schedule.

And Sopra Steria is the company that owns 75% of Shared Services Connected Ltd.

So, everywhere you look is this French company Sopra Steria, fan of zero hours contracts, and majority shareholder of Shared Servives Conncted Ltd. The remaining 25% is owned by the Cabinet Office, headed by David Camoron.

This is a partnership engineered by Francis Maude MP.  Remember him? He was also the architect of the MPs’ new Pension Scheme.

A cynical person might think that following on from the glorious failure of G4$ to come up to scratch at the 2012 Olympics, a new company had to be found.  What better option than to create your own company with a 25% stake in every contract won.

After the axing of over 200 jobs in Sheffield, one of our own MPs,  Paul Blomfield, had the following thoughts on the whole sham

“Just weeks after David Cameron said Britain should become the ‘re-shore nation’, Ministers have let a private company take an axe to publically funded civil service jobs from Sheffield and look set to let them move the jobs offshore. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. 

“Last year I asked the Government how many jobs would be moved offshore under this privatisation contract. The Minister refused to give a straight answer and said ‘the future delivery model’ hadn’t been decided. Now it’s very clear they knew exactly what the model was and it shamefully involves all of the civil servants in Sheffield losing their jobs. I’ll be writing to Ministers to find out when they first knew about these plans and to call on them to think again.

“This is another example of the Government’s using the cover of austerity to scrap public sector jobs in Sheffield, while at the same time handing out lucrative contracts to private firms”. 

–Ends—

Notes for Editors

1. In November 2013 the Government handed a lucrative contract ‘worth in excess of £1bn over 10 years’ to a new private company Shared Services Connected Ltd (SCCL). SCCL is 75% owned by the private firm Steria and 25% owned by the Government. http://www.steria.com/uk/media-centre/press-releases/press-releases/article/steria-awarded-major-uk-government-contract-to-transform-shared-services-and-help-drive-civil-servic/ 

2. SCCL handles the sensitive personal and confidential data of tens of thousands of civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency.

3. SCCL has confirmed that three of its sites – Cardiff, Leeds and Sheffield – will close later this year with a loss of over 500 jobs. They have refused to rule out further cuts and office closures in future.

4. In December 2013 Paul Blomfield asked Ministers how many jobs would be moved offshore under the contract with Shared Services Connected Limited. His question and the answer from Cabinet Office Francis Maude can be read at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-12-05a.179463.h&s= %28shared%29+speaker%3A24943#g179463.q0 

5. In January David Cameron made a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the opportunities of re-shoring jobs back to the UK. The Prime Minister said “there is a chance for Britain to become the “Re-Shore Nation” and that we must “act now to seize the opportunities of re-shoring”. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/world-economic-forum-davos-2014-speech-by-david-cameron–2   

We have Policy Exchange, the U.K. Government and quite possibly Tom Winsor all advocating outsourcing as the way forward, then the Cabinet a Office owns 25% of the company that is now picking up outsourced contracts all over the shop.

Can that be right? Doesn’t sound very ethical to me and most certainly does not keep politics out of Policing.  Takes the government right to the very heart of the major back room functions of who knows how many Police Forces.

Is $$CL the new G4$/$ERCO

We have an MP complaining, quite rightly, about Camoron’s astounding hypocrisy.

Maybe I’m just an old crusty and there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement, but it all seems way too incstuous to me. I’m sure somebody will point me in the right direction.

Budget Cuts May Prompt Police Force Mergers

So reads today’s headlines.

It may indeed be true.  Personally I have always thought that the current Home Secretary and her gang have been pushing us towards a National Police Service.  For more than one reason I don’t think that’s a good idea, and I remain to be convinced that even Regional Police Forces are necessarily a good idea, just look at what’s happened North of Hadrian’s Wall.

What MIGHT work and be beneficial is cooperation/amalgamation/merging (call it what you will) amongst neighbouring Forces in the area of Procurement etc.

We don’t need to go down the Outsourcing route, and there is certainly no reason why groups of Forces should not share common items of equipment or uniform.  

I fully get why Forces need or want to retain their individual identity and control over the way they Police, but no reason whatsoever why they can’t all wear the same uniform with their own, individual badges etc.

No reason not to compile a catalogue of equipment that a group of Forces can select their patrol cars, computers, office equipment and furniture from.  This makes sense.

We cannot avoid the fact that Cruella is going to force draconian cuts right across the board, pretending that it is necessary in the face of slashed budgets.  Job cuts are never good, but a rationalisation of the workforce and Procurement processes etc are better than Outsourcing (posh name for Privatisation).

PCCs and Chief Constables now need to dig in and direct their Force’s own destiny, because as sure as eggs is eggs if they don’t Cruella will jump into the void and uncertainty and steer the shaky ship in the name of Austerity.

PCCS and NPCC it’s over to you. If you don’t want to merge, rationalise and cooperate with some services, better than full-scale mergers surely.

The Dummy’s Guide To Privatisation/Outsourcing

Personally I quite like the Dummy’s Guides, I find them quite useful and am not offended by the title at all.

So, here goes, the Dummy’s Guide to Privatisation.  I am indebted to Stella for giving me the inspiration.

“The primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To these ends all the efforts of police must be directed. The protection of life and property, the preservation of public tranquillity, and the absence of crime, will alone prove whether those efforts have been successful and whether the objects for which the police were appointed have been attained.”  Sir Richard Mayne, 1829

The Primary Object of a Private Company is to make a profit, simple as that.

How can they make a profit out of Policing?

  • Employ less staff
  • Pay their existing staff less
  • Buy less/cheaper/shoddy products.

Simples.

So next time you hear a government, of any hue, encouraging Privatisation of the Police, or any other element of the Public Sector, it’s all about PROFIT, and that’s pretty much all you need to know.