As suspected, Suffolk County Council’s New (No) Strategic Direction has not gone away. Today’s front page of the East Anglian Daily Times carries the story of the privatisation of all of the Council’s care homes. This would seem to indicate that the idea of turning all of the Council’s core services into profit making opportunities is proceeding apace, but simply without the fanfare, and thus controversy, that accompanied its initial foray into this area. It will be interesting to see who wins the contract to run the homes. Almost certainly it will not be any form of social or community enterprise, of the likes that we were told would be filling the gap as the Council divests itself of its responsibilities.
This move is highlighted on the same day that David Cameron tries to revive interest in The Big Society via the creation of Big Society Capital – an organisation designed to fund the creation of new state funded contractors operating in the guise of “social enterprises”. It also follows hard on the heels of BBC Panorama revelations revealing how private suppiers are ripping-off the taxpayer via sub-standard apprentice schemes and the controversy over A4e and the £8.6 million taxpayer funded dividend the boss of that particular company awarded themselves. Not so much a Big Society as a Big Business Society it seems.