|Those marching included the famous climate activist Tamsin Omond|
1) We recognise that global capitalism has set its sights on the public sector as part of the solution to its crisis. Recognising that simple privatisation of local services is unpopular, successive governments have introduced more subtle forms of 'creeping privatisation' - taking services out of public hands and handing them over to new bodies which are vulnerable to being taken over by the private sector at a later stage; and surrounding public services with private sector consultants and advisers.
2) We oppose all these moves and insist that local public services should be provided overwhelmingly by public service providers and be accountable directly to local people, not to private sector shareholders. Claims that only the quality of local public services matters, and not who provides them, are inaccurate, because private sector providers are ultimately accountable to their shareholders and their financial bottom line. The public sector is different: it is wholly dedicated towards delivering services for those in need, and the dedication, skill, and innovation of public sector workers should be unleashed to improve services. Defending the public service ethos is therefore a top priority for the Green Party.
3) We believe that all local public service providers should therefore be under a duty to promote the environmental, economic and social well-being of the local community; and to optimise efficiency, and avoid waste, in public service provision.
4) The total cost of public service provision in an area, through all providers, should be published and made available for public scrutiny. The remit of local councils should be expanded so that locally-delivered services are commissioned by democratically-elected local authorities. Primary Care Trusts should be supervised by, and accountable to, elected local government, for example. Separate elections for police and health will splinter accountability and threaten partnership working. 5) We need a revolution in participation - freedom of information and transparency is not enough. We support the approach of local people playing a major role in planning, commissioning, managing and assessing local priorities, services and budgets, using appropriate local forums and techniques such as participatory budgeting. Such deliberative discussion is preferable to the blunt instrument of local referenda for complex decisions on services and budgets. 6) In the current economic climate, we commit ourselves to support national and local campaigns against cuts in public services and to use everything in our power when in opposition or in office to oppose them.