Lets kick this off with 'mission impossible'. Serco are looking for an 'ethics' officer. The closing date is July 28th:-
Serco Group plc is an international services company, established for over 50 years, delivering essential services for both the public and private sectors. It is well-respected for being a values-led company with a culture and ethos that is at the heart of everything it does. The company gives its people real responsibility and allows them to put their ideas into practice to truly make a difference for customers and the public. Serco employs over 120,000 people worldwide, including over 40,000 in the UK.
Due to Serco`s continued focus on business ethics we are currently recruiting for an Ethics Officer to strengthen the support we provide to our senior management team. The Ethics Officer will act in support of the Directors of Ethics and Governance (of both our UK and Europe divisions) by supporting the Senor Ethics Officer in monitoring and reporting results of the ethics activities of the company and in providing recommendation and reporting for the two Directors on matters relating to ethics.
Duties include:- Champions the ethical values of the organization, promoting and embedding our ethics policies, code of conduct and business principles across the division.- In conjunction with the Senior Ethics Officer reviews, maintains, and recommends revisions and further actions with respect to policies and procedures for the general operation of the Ethics Programme and its related activities to prevent illegal, unethical, or improper conduct. Supports in the day-to-day management of the Program.- Collaborates with other departments (e.g., Risk Management, Compliance, Legal Department, Employee Services, etc.) to direct compliance issues to appropriate existing channels for investigation and resolution. Consults with the Corporate attorney as needed to resolve difficult legal compliance issues.- Working with the Corporate Investigations Team, responds to alleged violations of rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and Standards of Conduct. Work with the Senior Ethics Officer to oversee a system for uniform handling of such violations.- Acts as an independent review and evaluation body to ensure that ethics Issues/concerns within the organization are being appropriately evaluated, investigated and resolved.- Monitors, and as necessary, coordinates ethics related activities of other departments to remain abreast of the status of all compliance activities and to identify trends.- Identifies potential areas of vulnerability and risk including risks around bribery and corruption, facilitation payments, human rights, conflicts of interest, competition law etc; develops/implements corrective action plans for resolution of problematic issues; and provides general guidance on how to avoid or deal with similar situations in the future.- Provides reports on a regular basis, and as directed or requested, to keep the two Divisional Ethics Committees and senior management informed of the operation and progress of compliance efforts.
This is an important and high profile role within Serco and as such we are looking for a Compliance subject matter expert with a proven track record in influencing stakeholders in the ethical agenda. Ideally you will possess knowledge of working with public service providers, preferably central government and have an inclusive, approachable and consultative nature. In return we offer a role with autonomy and scope to progress you career in the ethics space. The role attracts a competitive salary and benefits.Nicely timed for the run up to the party political season and General Election next year and due to the runaway success of privatising the probation service, it's interesting to see that old chestnut about privatising job centres is back on the agenda. This in the Guardian reporting on a report just published by Policy Exchange.:-
Job centres are failing to help about a third of their customers – mainly the long-term workless – and should be restructured to enable private companies and charities to compete with government providers, a report by the influential centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange has proposed.
The report, which came out on Monday, says jobcentres are failing many of the 11.5 million people in Britain with a long-term health condition, especially those with a mental health problem. It says the employment service should be rebranded as Citizen Support and advise the unemployed on the best personalised service available to them, including the data on their previous success rates. This would give the jobless person the advantage of being able to decide which service they wanted to commission to help them find work.
The call to reform employment services is not confined to the centre-right. Sharp criticisms of their performance have been made by the Labour MP David Lammy and, from a different perspective, by the centre-left thinktank the Institute for Public Policy Research. The Policy Exchange call for reform comes before a report for the government into whether the benefit sanctions regime is failing too many unemployed, especially those on the work programme.The report claims that the system is in urgent need of reform and tries to make the case for that new buzz term 'personalisation' arguing that the next logical direction of reform is a radical new structure centred around the specific needs of the individual. It all sounds so comforting and cuddly, but this is a right-wing think tank:-
Seamus Milne writing in the Guardian on the other hand confirms that public opinion is very definitely against privatisation:-
- Jobcentres should be completely overhauled. The employment services part should be mutualised and be allowed to compete with the private and voluntary sectors as well as other public bodies to provide specialist support for people looking to find work.
- The remaining part of Jobcentre Plus should be expanded and rebranded as Citizen Support. It would effectively act as the primary and central hub for accessing government services, enabling advisors to identify an individual’s specific barriers to work and suggest providers that could help meet that person’s needs. The advisor would also show the success rate of each provider using comparison data to help the jobseeker make a more informed decision about which providers are most appropriate to help them.
- Instead of the budget being allocated directly from central government to different providers as is currently the case, the money would be allocated to the individual claimant and then be funnelled to the provider of choice who is paid on the outcomes they achieve.
- Unlike the current system, the provider of choice would act as an individual’s ‘caseholder’ – a specific point of contact. That lead provider will then coordinate specialist support suited to that person’s unique needs.
Privatisation isn't working. We were promised a shareholding democracy, competition, falling costs and better services. A generation on, most people's experience has been the opposite. From energy to water, rail to public services, the reality has been private monopolies, perverse subsidies, exorbitant prices, woeful under-investment, profiteering and corporate capture.
Private cartels run rings round the regulators. Consumers and politicians are bamboozled by commercial secrecy and contractual complexity. Workforces have their pay and conditions slashed. Control of essential services has not only passed to corporate giants based overseas, but those companies are themselves often state-owned – they're just owned by another state. Report after report has shown privatised services to be more expensive and inefficient than their publicly owned counterparts. It's scarcely surprising that a large majority of the public, who have never supported a single privatisation, neither trust the privateers nor want them running their services.
But regardless of the evidence, the caravan goes on. David Cameron's government is now driving privatisation into the heart of education and health, outsourcing the probation service and selling off a chunk of Royal Mail at more than £1bn below its market price, with the government's own City advisers cashing in their chips in short order. No amount of disastrous failures or fraudulent wrongdoing, it seems, debars companies such as G4S, Atos and Serco from lucrative new contracts in what is already an £80bn business – and one with an increasingly powerful grip on Westminster and Whitehall.Again in the Guardian, more evidence that privatisation just isn't working:-
Successive governments have pursued an agenda of market competition, outsourcing and privatisation within public services. Their aim? Innovation – the kind that clunky, state run services apparently cannot deliver. For our politicians, the market has become synonymous with better services at lower costs.
But is this actually the case? Evidence is surprisingly hard to come by. Decades of restructuring and reform have gone by without much effort to find out. What limited evidence there is gives cause for concern. A recent survey of 140 local authorities shows the majority are beginning to take services back in-house, citing concerns about rising costs and decreasing quality. Pay and conditions for services staff have plummeted and transparency has given way to commercial confidentiality. Power has been concentrated in the hands of a few supremely wealthy private providers, now dogged by a series of high-profile scandals and widespread public mistrust.
What, really, did we expect? Attempting to force innovation by pitting providers against each other naturally breeds fragmentation and opposition between stakeholders – which in turn discourages the partnerships and holistic thinking necessary for joined-up and preventative services. Efficiencies are sought by squeezing workers' time, undermining the potential for caring services; and by cutting wages, causing diminishing morale, retention rates and productivity. New targets and auditing regimes have been introduced to regulate a diversity of providers, side-lining local priorities and knowledge in the process. Shareholder value has been allowed to trump social value, eroding collective responsibility and solidarity.As the 'we own it' website makes clear, now is the time for a grown up debate about public ownership:-
For the mainstream political classes, public ownership remains anathema. For New Labour types, nationalisation in particular is the political equivalent of the word “MacBeth” for the acting fraternity; words that cannot be spoken for fear they will bring bad luck or, more to the point, undermine their pro-business credentials. Suggestions by the Tories - and their pro-business friends in the media and the City of London - that nationalisation presages a return to the dark days of the 1970s lead Labour to beat a hasty retreat from raising any serious critique of how our economy is owned and controlled.
The irony is that it is the UK’s political class that is out of step with the times. Public ownership is back on the public policy agenda in much of the rest of the world as the failures of three decades of privatisation become increasingly apparent. In Germany and France, but also in large swathes of Africa, Latin America and even the United States, new forms of public ownership at local, regional and national levels are being introduced that take whole sectors back into democratic control. Even the European Union’s commissioner for energy policy has recently suggested that if key strategic priorities around tackling climate change are going to be met, the electricity grid across the continent should be returned to public hands.