CBI claims private sector is a good employer for former public servants

Private companies which have taken over the delivery of public services are among some of the best employers in the UK, and it is a myth that public service workers prefer to be employed by the state, according to a CBI report.

The report, Working together: Embedding good employment in public services, shows that employees can benefit greatly from transferring from public to private sector to because of better performance management and increased opportunities for promotion.

All government contracts, and the organisations that fulfil them, should have employment practice as a top priority, the report says, warning that public, private and voluntary providers that do not, should not be awarded them.

The CBI also warns that public sector clients must share responsibility for ensuring good employment practice in public services contracts when they are negotiated.

Failure to do so will result in poor outcomes as only an engaged, motivated and properly trained workforce can deliver effective, high-quality public services, it says.

John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, said: “For most public service users, contact with an employee on the front line in the classroom, the hospital ward, or the council office determines how they feel about their public service experience.

“This report shows that modern employment practices and improved performance management brought in by the private sector can unlock the potential of our public servants and help deliver the excellent services the public wants and deserves. It also exposes the myth that public service workers prefer to be employed by the state.”

The report offers 10 guidelines on public services employment practice;

  • Public sector clients and service providers have a shared responsibility for good employment practice. The public sector should always partner with providers committed to good employment
  • Employees should be involved in the procurement process to help ensure that any transfer of staff, and the subsequent operation of the contract, are successful
  • Effective performance management is needed to drive improvements in service delivery. Public service employees must have clear objectives and appraisal
  • Good absence management ensures a reliable service for users and fairness for employees, and should be required of all employers
  • Employers should train and develop all employees. Government agencies should recognise the legitimate cost of training when awarding contracts
  • Providing opportunities for promotion based on merit motivates employees, and these opportunities must be open to all staff
  • Consulting and involving staff on an ongoing basis is integral to improving service delivery, as employee satisfaction is related to customer satisfaction
  • TUPE, the two-tier code and Cabinet Office guidance must be honoured
  • Employers and employees have a shared responsibility for pension provision. Transferred employees should not lose pension benefits, and new recruits must be offered a reasonable pension
  • Respecting diversity is important for both employee relations and for service delivery.

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