Become your own boss, Jo Johnson offers Orpington's public sector workers

New plans for employee-owned co-operatives to help improve local services

Under new Conservative plans, backed by Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Jo Johnson, public sector workers across Orpington could become their own boss and deliver better services. Under bold proposals, public sector workers would have a powerful new right to form employee-owned co-operatives to take over the services they deliver. This will empower thousands of public sector workers across the whole of the Orpington constituency.

The new right to form employee-owned co-operatives will apply throughout the vast majority of the public sector – including JobCentre Plus offices, community nursing teams and primary schools. Employee-owned co-operatives will continue to be funded by the state so long as they meet national standards, but will be freed from centralised bureaucracy and political micromanagement. They will be voluntary sector, not-for-profit organisations; any financial surpluses would be reinvested into the service and the staff who work there, rather than distributed to external shareholders.

Jo Johnson said:
“Public sector workers should have the chance to become their own boss. Employee-owned co-operatives can help cut waste and deliver better services for everyone across Orpington. This could be the biggest shift of power from government to people since the right to buy your council house in the 1980s.

“This shows how Conservatives will give power to the public sector workers who are fed up with Gordon Brown’s top-down control of their working lives.”

The full policy document, Power to public sector workers, can be found here.

Under the new Conservative plans:

  • Employee-owned co-operatives will be able to decide on management structures, innovate to cut costs and improve the quality of service, and share any financial surpluses amongst the staff.
  • With 40 per cent of staff in the public sector saying that morale is low in their organisation, compared to only 16 per cent in the private sector, empowering public sector workers to become their own boss will boost employee satisfaction and improve public sector productivity.
  • Labour have consistently taken power away from public sector workers. Conservatives will empower public sector workers to improve the services they deliver and give them a stake in a stronger and fairer society.
  • These proposals are the latest in a series of plans that would allow people to enter co-operatives to take back control of many areas of our public and civic lives from the state – reducing society’s dependence on monolithic government bureaucracies.

Conservatives launched the Conservative Co-Operative Movement in 2007 to help people set up their own co-ops to tackle social problems and improve local areas, and more recently announced plans to create a new right of community ownership, allowing local people to form community co-operatives to take over council services and rescue community assets like local pubs or open spaces that are under threat.

Other examples include allowing parents to set up and run schools, encouraging local mothers to create ‘maternity networks’ that would help improve NHS maternity services, and letting community groups set up housing trusts that could get homes built for local people. As with all these ideas, we believe on the basis of the evidence that giving staff and citizens control over the services they use will dramatically improve their quality.

The website of the Conservative Co-Operative Movement can be found at:
www.conservativecoops.com.