Conservatives Publish Public Sector Manifesto

Public sector workers to be allowed to form autonomous co-operatives.

On Saturday the Tories set out their manifesto plans for the public sector in a supplemental manifesto document [PDF download] aimed at the public sector.

The document's theme is very much focused on the idea of setting public sector workers free from red tape and targets. There is mention of protecting workers against litigation, encouraging flexible working and performance related pay - "for example, freeing schools to pay teachers more for high achievement, and more payment according to outcomes in hospitals and Sure Start centres..."

Exactly how the level of performance or 'outcomes' will be measured is not clear, and raises the question of whether the Tories are seeking to replace Labour's targets with a new set of targets with money attached. Given the recent stories of organisations massaging statistics or creatively categorising things, there's an obvious danger here. As with much of their 'Big Society' manifesto, the Conservatives' answer to this problem appears to revolve around public involvement - "The public will be the the experts on judging performance, the need for all the centralised targets will end."

Fair pay gets a mention, with public bodies required to pay their highest paid workers no more than 20 times more than their lowest paid. A wage freeze is to be brought in for workers earning more than £18,000, and public sector pensions capped at £50,000 per year. In the main manifesto document, the Conservatives state that any public servant earning more than the Prime Minister will have to have his or her salary signed off by the Treasury. The Prime Minister's salary is currently £132,923, plus an MP's salary of £64,766. [Source]

The most dramatic measure in the manifesto is a pledge to apparently allow public sector workers to escape from their local authority's control and form a public sector co-operative organisation and "bid to run services".

While these co-operatives will be a 'not-for-profit' organisation, the document also says that money saved via efficiency savings may be reinvested or shared with co-operative workers. The fact that these co-operatives will be 'bidding' for services also implies a competitive element. From the document: "Co-operatives will be contracted by government to deliver services, and as long as they meet agreed national standards, they will be completely free from government control. They can decide on management structures, service delivery, and can reinvest any financial surpluses they make as a result of making improvements and efficiencies into the service or share them with staff..."


Conservative Manifesto
Conservative Public Sector Manifesto
Labour Manifesto
Liberal Democrat Manifesto

Edited 21/09/15 to fix broken hyperlinks.