Public sector workers can be better off in private sector

Jul 06 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Private companies that have taken over the delivery of public services in Britain are among some of the country's best employers, a report by the Confederation of British Industry has claimed, and the idea that public sector workers prefer to be employed by the state is a myth.

But the CBI has also warned that public sector organisations have an equal responsibility to ensure good employment practices are in place when contracts are negotiated.

Failure to do so can result in poor outcomes, as only an engaged, motivated and properly trained workforce can deliver effective, high quality public services, argued the report, Working together: embedding good employment in public services.

All government contracts Ė and the organisations that fulfil them Ė should have employment practice as a top priority, said the CBI, and public, private or voluntary providers that cannot show this should not be awarded the lucrative contracts.

It also questioned the belief that public sector employees always prefer to remain in the public sector, claiming that public sector workers could benefit greatly from transferring into the private sector because of better performance management and increased opportunities for promotion.

John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, said: "Too often, monolithic and old-fashioned employment practice in the public sector holds back staff from achieving their full potential.

"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," he added.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of Investors in People in the UK, added: "This report draws attention to the importance of good people management practices in public services and identifies employment issues as being central to achieving high service levels and effective procurement processes."