PUBLIC SERVICE IN THE NEWS | Can transnational corporations deliver public goods to citizens?

Scandalous cost of justice: £861 a night to lock up young crime suspects… £650 to stay at the Ritz > Locking up young crime suspects for a night costs more than a suite at London’s Ritz hotel, it was revealed today. While the highest price of a bed at one of the country’s privately run secure units is £861, a stay at the Ritz costs £650. Charities have condemned the ‘outrageous’ waste of taxpayers’ cash after spending figures emerged from the Youth Justice Board.

Rest easy, citizens, Serco rides to the rescue >  THE Government is lining up civil servants, staff from embassies abroad and Hampshire-based services giant Serco to replace immigration officials at ports and airports who will join the national strike. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “We have serious concerns about the private contractors’ ability to do the job, and the use of them to cover for striking staff. This latest revelation further underlines the sheer desperation of [the UK Border Agency] to paint a picture of business as usual when it’s obvious to everyone that’s not going to be the case.”

New contract for housing of asylum seekers > The multi-national corporation Serco has been urged to sign up to a set of housing quality standards after being named as the likely provider of accommodation to asylum seekers in Glasgow. Serco Civil Government is set to take over the multi-million pound contract from the charity YPeople (formerly YMCA Glasgow). All the successful providers are major multi-national security companies, with the Government opting to have no provision in the public or voluntary sector.

Public Sector in America ‘Petri dish’ of innovation > Even against crippling debt, the public sector in America is a Petri dish of innovation, driven by an activist populace, a culture of creativity and a growing tradition of philanthropy.

Big Society is failing the ‘little society’ > Government report calls for new measures to remove barriers for small organisations and community groups. The report states that “Big Society doesn’t do enough to help ‘the little society’: Without a coherent implementation plan, there is confusion over message, whilst smaller charities face barriers in contracting and commissioning policies.”


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