MPs look to scrutinise ‘threat’ of private firms

MPs are to investigate whether private involvement in public
services is threatening the public sector’s traditional ethos and

The Commons select committee on public administration is
launching the examination as part of a wider parliamentary inquiry
into public sector reform.

It will look at the influence of private firms and business
people working in task forces, local partnerships and public
services. The findings are to be published after the winter

Tony Wright, chairperson of the committee, said there was a
danger that the fundamental principles of public life would get
lost in the urge to deliver.

“The controversy over PFI [private finance initiative] and the
IPPR [Institute for Public Policy Research] report have revealed
some public disquiet and confusion over the role of the private
sector,” he said. The IPPR report focused on public private

The Commons health committee is also launching an inquiry into
the role of the private sector in the NHS.

The moves comes as unions and think-tanks step up the pressure
on Whitehall against the transfer of power in the public sector to
unelected private sector hands.

Public sector union Unison welcomed the move. Spokesperson Ann
Mitchell, said: “It shows the government is taking our concerns
seriously. We want to highlight the effect of private involvement
on the workforce, which creates a two-tier system where new staff
take on much worse terms.”

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