The government’s introduction of a market in children’s services is a “dangerous notion” for the voluntary and community sector, charity leaders were told this week.
Unison’s national secretary for local government, Heather Wakefield, said making providers compete for services inevitably meant driving down costs.
She said, during a debate organised by the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations: “Contestability in the current context is a dangerous notion for the community and voluntary sector. There’s a financial and economic basis which is as much about reducing cost as it’s about driving up standards.”
Wakefield added that the community and voluntary sector had to ensure it was not being asked to step in and provide services at a lower cost than the state on a “bargain basement basis”.
She said that in areas where the private sector had taken over the running of public services, pay and conditions had worsened and that a two-tier workforce had come into force with those still employed by councils being much better off.