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Think tank says privatisation of services has consistently led to lower outcomes


  • New paper for Class argues for politicisation of public sector
  • It is time to acknowledge the necessity of the state in every society
  • There needs to be major reform for a fit-for-purpose public sector

For further information and media requests:

Contact: Ellie O’Hagan
T: 0207 611 2571

The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) has today [Wednesday] released a paper by public services expert, Professor Roger Seifert, examining the political role of the state in the distribution of public services.

As part of a new series from Class on the role of the modern state, the paper is released ahead of the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum on 18 July, which is expected to feature key debates about the purpose of public services in the modern state.

The paper argues that public services can only be run most efficiently if they are supported by large and well-funded state. Privatisation has generally led to worse outcomes for public services. Professor Seifert argues that the role of the public sector should be “intensely political.”

The paper makes a series of recommendations in order to guarantee the state operates efficiently and fairly. These include:

  • The setting of national standards to ensure equal provision of services
  • Greater accountability for senior decision makers
  • Budgets set at a national level by political leaders
  • The engagement of the workforce and community in the provision of services
  • Urgent reform of existing regulation
  • Experts, users, staff and politicians engaging in risk assessment

Roger Seifert said: “Whenever public services have been privatised the outcomes have been generally worse with rising prices, restricted services, more scandals, more corruption, less long-term investment, worse pay and conditions for staff, and a transfer of money from the pockets of users and taxpayers to those of shareholders and senior managers.

“It is time to politicise the public sector, so that we can deliver services to national standards, planned over many years, integrated with other services for efficient use of scarce resources, and accountable to politicians and the wider community.”

– ENDS –
Notes to Editors:

1. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established in 2012 by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade Unions including ASLEF, CWU, FEU, GFTU, NUT, PCS, PFA, TSSA, UCATT, MU and NUM. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.

2. A copy of ‘Public services: the good, the bad, and the future’ is available here:

3. The author of the paper:

Roger Seifert has been Professor of Industrial Relations and Human Resources Management at the University of Wolverhampton Business School since 2008. He was President of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, an academic adviser to ACAS and the Commonwealth Universities Association and a visiting professor in Zimbabwe, Malawi and China. Roger became a standing member of the Council of the World Association of Political Economy in 2010.

Roger specialises in public sector industrial relations and the role of the state in the employment relationship. He has published widely on the NHS, education, local government, the civil service, and more recently on the fire and police services.

More information

For further information, articles, interviews or media requests please contact Ellie O’Hagan on or 020 7611 2569.