Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Government to pilot new model for ancillary staff in PFI Hospitals- Alan Milburn and Andrew Smith [June 2001]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 15 June 2001.

A new approach to the involvement of certain ancillary staff in PFI schemes in the NHS is to be trialled, Alan Milburn, Health Secretary, and Andrew Smith, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, announced today.

If successfully piloted, the new initiative would mean ancillary staff in areas such as catering, cleaning, laundry and portering staff remaining employees of the NHS but being managed by the private sector PFI partner, who would continue to assume responsibility for delivering such services to NHS/PFI hospitals. Where new ancillary staff are required for the delivery of facilities management services they would be recruited by the NHS under the same terms as existing staff.

Speaking about the initiative, Alan Milburn said:

“In line with the incoming Government’s manifesto, we are keen to ensure a new fairer deal for NHS staff so they can continue employment within the NHS.”

Andrew Smith commented:

“PFI and our wider PPP programmes are essential to revitalise the nation’s infrastructure. These pilots build on our reforms – increased transparency and consultation, improved treatment over staff transfers and a fair deal for staff over pensions – which go to the very heart of the public sector ethos that this Government has been keen to develop.

“We will continue to improve the standards of service for patients and all other citizens who rely on effective public services and take what further steps are required to guarantee fair treatment to staff.”

The pilots will be taken forward with hospital schemes that are sufficiently far advanced to allow early insight into its effectiveness. The results should be known before the end of the year. It is such building blocks that would underpin the projects and give us a high level of confidence in their viability.

This government has already put into place three initiatives for PFI/PPP deals including:

  • transparency and consultations with staff allowing unions more access to procurement details;
  • improvement in the treatment of staff rights under TUPE;
  • a fair deal for pensions to protect staff pension rights.

This new approach is fully consistent with existing guidance that there is no requirement to transfer ancillary staff to the private sector where this is compatible with achieving value for money.