Although the guidance no longer seeks (as it did in draft) to prohibit "in-house bids" in the procurement process that inevitably follows a successful "expression of interest" it remains the case that the "Community Right to Challenge" is no more than a Trojan Horse for privatisation.
Those in our movement too readily seduced by the illusion of "mutualisation" are foolishly lacking in awareness of this threat (http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/CouncilDemocracy/MakingADifference/TheCooperativeCouncil/UsingLocalismAidCooperativeCouncilJourney.htm).
Be very clear. All that an "expression of interest" from a voluntary group or would-be staff mutual (in line with the "Community Right to Challenge") can possibly achieve is a procurement process.
That means private sector bids which have to be considered in accordance with European regulations which are designed to facilitate privatisation.
At our Conference last week someone said that this was as bad as Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT).
I said it was worse.
This is random privatisation driven by anyone with enough of a grudge, enough of an ideological fixation, or enough of a financial inducement from a contractor waiting in the wings.
It threatens all remaining in-house services but not existing private contracts (since nothing in the Localism Act or its associated regulations and statutory guidance requires or permits local authorities to breach existing contracts with existing contractors).
This isn't the limited threat of CCT. This is Texas Chainsaw Massacre Competitive Tendering (TCMCT).
The Community has not just a "Right" but a duty to challenge this devastation of our public services - and Labour politicians need to choose sides decisively against this wanton onslaught upon our local services.
The Coalition Government has made an unequivocal declaration of war upon local government workers.
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