The Mutation of Privatisation: A critical assessment of new community and individual rights, European Services Strategy Unit - Research Report No. 5, Dexter Whitfield

New community rights to bid, buy, build, challenge and provide are enshrined in legislation and Coalition policy. The government is also extending existing individual rights to buy and to personal budgets. This paper examines the objectives and scope of the new community rights and proposes a typology of public sector reform rights. It highlights the fundamental conflicts between ‘rights’, ‘choice’ and ‘contract’ cultures and localism. It assesses the conflicts and contradictions between community and commissioning, participation and empowerment, and the impact on democratic accountability, public finance, employment, equalities, the changing role of the state and community, voluntary and non-profit organisations.


1. A typology of rights 5

Limitations of new rights 6

Neoliberal reform of public services 6

The mutation of privatisation 7

2. The new community rights 8

Community Right to Challenge 8

Right to Request and to Provide 9

Community Right to Bid 11

Right to Buy 11

Right to Transfer 11

Right to Manage 11

Community Right to Build 12

Right to Reclaim Derelict Land 12

Right to Choice 13

Right to Personal Budgets 13

Right to Control 14

Right to Limit Council Tax Increases 14

3. New pathways to privatisation 15

Political objectives 15

Potential impact of the Community Right to Challenge 17

Conflict between rights, choice and contract cultures, and localism 17

Democratic accountability and transparency 18

Economics of commissioning 19

Public cost of community rights 20

Determining value for money 22

Political or business empowerment 22

Changing role of the state 23

Social finance market 24

Quality of jobs and illusion of jobs growth 24

Reducing inequality and poverty? 24

Impact on public management 25

Impact on the voluntary sector 25

Monitoring and review 26

What can be done to oppose these policies? 26

Appendix 1: The essence of a contract culture 28

References 29

Figure 1. New community and individual rights create new pathways to privatisation 16

Table 1. Public cost of community rights 21


European Services Strategy Unit, Duagh, Camp, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland.
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This document was created by Dexter Whitfield on 2012-07-17 16:57:29.
This document was last modified by Dexter Whitfield on 2012-08-04 08:51:32.
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