Book News: August 11th, 2009

The Public Services Forum was formed in 2003 to improve dialogue between government, trade unions and public service employers. This report describes the achievements of the forum.

The Forum played a significant role in providing access to skills by the inclusion of conditions in public service contracts. The effect was to give many of those who work on relevant government contracts the opportunity to develop skills they may currently lack, and will help those same employees access valuable information.

The Forum looks at workforce issues from a practical viewpoint. It developed the Drive for Change toolkit which sets out how local employers can work with employees and their representatives to deliver improvements to their services in a way that benefits service users, staff and the employer.

Privatisation has raised many workforce issues and the creation of two tier workforces is an example. The Best Value Code, which only applies to local authorities provided protection in local government, but the Forum extended protection across the public sector with the creation of the Two Tier Code. The Code ensures that where a service provider recruits new staff whose main role is to work on a public sector service contract alongside staff transferred from the public authority, it should offer employment on fair and reasonable terms and conditions.

PUBLIC SERVICES FORUM is available from the Cabinet Office.