Sunday, August 5, 2012

Opposing the business and corporate takeover of human and community services in Western Australia.

This story below from the UK exemplifies the ways that corporations like Serco are driving the corporate and business takeover of human and community services.

As Governments outsource more and more human and community services it is corporations and private firms like Serco who primarily benefit. Not-for-profits find themselves without the capacity or resources to bid for large contracts.  In particular, small locally based not-for profit organisations are the big losers.

Here in Western Australia the corporate and business takeover of human and communty services is precisely what the Barnett Government's Economic Audit Committee Report and its contracting and procurement reforms and public sector reforms will deliver. 

Serco is already the major provider of criminal and community justice services in WA and has huge contracts in health and hospital services. Serco collaborates with large not- for- profits such as Mission Australia and Uniting Care West. Serco is also eyeing off other opportunities in the human and communty services in WA.

The corporate and business takeover of the human and community services is also being driven by institutions such as the Centre for Social Impact at the University of WA, who aggressively promote a market driven and pro-business approach to social policy and human and community services delivery.

However, there is growing community and citizen led opposition to the corporate takeover of human and community services in WA, as exemplified by groups such as Serco Watch, a WA based group involved in monitoring  and exposing Serco's growing power.

The extract below is from the UK Guardian report titled Serco set to take charge of 'big society' initiative

Serco, a leading private contractor, is in line to win a multimillion-pound contract to run the National Citizen Service, proposed by the prime minister as a "big society", non-military version of national service for youngsters aged over 16.

The company, which recently announced global revenue of more than £4bn, has joined four charities in a controversial bid to run what has been described by the government as a key part of David Cameron's big society vision. Serco and its partners hope to win eight of the 19 contracts currently up for tender, with an estimated value of nearly £100m over two years.

The development has raised concerns that the National Citizen Service (NCS) will become another way for private firms to make money from the public sector as charities and voluntary organisations find themselves without the resources to bid for large contracts amid the economic squeeze. Pilot NCS programmes, aimed at bringing together 16- and 17-year-olds from different backgrounds to undertake character-forming community work, have been run by around 60 charities over the last year.

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