Code to tackle two-tier workforce

Local government HR professionals have welcomed a new code of practice
designed to stop the creation of a two-tier workforce in the provision of
public services.

Published last week, the code which covers contracts between local
authorities and private companies, will mean new staff will get pay and
conditions, including pensions, that are overall "no less favourable"
than transferred staff.

At present, existing local government staff who transfer to private
companies have their pay, conditions and pensions ring-fenced, but new starters
don’t have the same protection.

Keith Handley, immediate past president of local government HR group Socpo,
welcomed the new code.

"Socpo has always supported the Best Value concept of external
contracts but only on a level playing field basis," he said.

The head of personnel and training at Poole Borough Council, Colin Hague,
said the code would prevent private sector firms from making efficiencies in
public services simply by offering inferior pay and conditions.

"It is not appropriate that efficiencies can be achieved through
worsening the terms and conditions of employees working alongside each
other," he said.

The code will be enforceable through a new dispute resolution mechanism to
be finalised over the next six weeks, allowing staff who feel they have been
unfairly treated to seek redress.

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