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RAYNSFORD PROMISES CODE OF PRACTICE FOR STAFF TRANSFERS

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Legislation and a code of practice to protect staff affected by the transfer of council services to private provide...
Legislation and a code of practice to protect staff affected by the transfer of council services to private providers has been announced as part of a review of best value.

Local government minister Nick Raynsford promised the legislation as preparation for the review of best value announced by local government secretary Stephen Byers.

Mr Raynsford will head the review team which includes representatives from central and local government, the Audit Commission, the TUC, the private sector and the voluntary sector.

The review will seek to:

- Identify ways in which best value can deliver high-quality services while ensuring staff terms and conditions are fair

- Reflect that approach in guidance and regulations, and possibly a code of practice, to come into effect on 1 April

- Agree measures to offset any unfairness in terms and conditions, especially those newly recruited following a transfer of services to an external provider

- Consider ways in which front-line staff and unions, can engage in the best value process

- Identify models of service delivery that include cost-effective public/private partnerships.

Announcing the three-month review Mr Byers said: 'We will review the particular concerns of local government staff transferred to the private sector. We will include the issues of a two-tier workforce, and where evidence of a two-tier workforce is found we will take action to end it.'

The review, due to report by the end of the year, will draw on evidence of best value's effect on service standards and costs, along with labour market conditions.

Other changes to the best value framework - including its simplification - are to be addressed in the forthcoming local government white paper.

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