On Saturday 20th July 2019 I attended with others the launch of the national Labour Party Democratising Local Public Services Policy. The policy was launched by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Secretary Andrew Gwynne. Please find details below:

Labour’s Community Wealth Building Unit, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and I launched Democratising Local Public Services: A Plan for Twenty-First Century Insourcing – Labour’s blueprint for a radical overhaul of local service provision.

The report sets out Labour’s plans to roll back decades of orthodoxy that have seen local councils forced into outsourcing the delivery of key public services to private companies, including construction and maintenance work, bin collections, cleaning, school dinners, playing field maintenance and the management of local leisure centres.

Announcing the plans, John and I criticised Thatcher’s legacy of decades of forced outsourcing in local government, which has seen private companies failing to uphold their contracts to deliver services, standards deteriorating and the taxpayer picking up the bill.

Under the new plans announced today, Labour will:

  • Legislate to ensure that local authorities review all service contracts when they expire
  • Legislate to create a presumption that service contracts will be brought back inhouse and delivered by the public sector unless certain conditions and exemptions are met
  • Empower citizens and community groups by giving them the right to request information from councils showing that any outsourcing decision is consistent with these criteria
  • Transform the legislative framework around outsourcing contacts by making them subject to the Human Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act and introducing a new set of minimum standards in contracts where outsourcing has to continue, including a fair wage clause, trade union recognition, support local labour and supply chains, annual gender pay audits and time-limited contracts
  • Support local government in delivering these changes by providing a model contract (to save councils time and resources), access to the Government Legal Department for contract management and greater support for collaboration amongst councillors

We know that many Labour councils are already leading the way in using insourcing and community wealth building to boost the strength and resilience of their local economies by better harnessing public and private wealth and using it for public good. Labour’s Community Wealth Building Unit was set up to help councils discover and implement these techniques, share knowledge and experiences, and support each other. If you would like to get involved, please contact community_wealth@labour.org.uk

Rolling out these techniques will not only help councils to minimise the impact of Tory cuts, it will also lay the foundations for a revival of local government and a new era of municipal socialism under the next Labour government.

Best wishes