Competition and safety in UK local authorities: an empirical study

John Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A number of studies throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s were able to highlight economic gains from the policy of Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) in the UK. Claims have been made that this economic gain was achieved by financial savings brought about by deterioration in the terms and conditions of employees. Far less is known about the impact of CCT on the occupational health and safety of direct and subcontracted employees engaged in public service provision. Much of the literature which does exist on the impact on occupational health and safety of privatization generally, asserts that its effect has been negative. This article addresses the question of the impact of CCT on occupational health and safety on the basis of triangulation of three methodological approaches. Although the current UK government has abandoned the CCT process, it has replaced it with a policy of 'Best Value', a policy which will apply to all local authority services. Best Value does not contain the same element of compulsion, but it is likely that many of the organizational and commercial pressures introduced by CCT will continue. Against that back-drop, it is concluded that CCT may have exposed pre-existing deficiencies in local authority health and safetysystems. Strategies have been developed to address many of these deficiencies in CCT services. Services previously not subject to CCT will now be required to address these problems and solutions as a consequence of the Best Value regime.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Management Review
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001

Keywords

  • compulsory competitive tendering
  • privitisation
  • occupational health and safety

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