Compulsory Competitive Tendering

Graham Stringer coined the phrase Enforced Tendering (ET), and this was the term generally used in Manchester when referring to the process of Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) that came about as a result of the 1988 Local Government Act. This emphasised the fact that it was being forced upon local government throughout the country. The Conservative government believed the private sector would deliver services more efficiently and cost effectively. The Left believed what would be lost would be quality and pay and conditions for workers, and public money would be going toward profits at the expense of the workers. This chapter details the sequence of services that were subject to competitive tender and the outcome that all but one of the contracts were won by the in-house bids, the process being spread from 1989 to 1995.
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The Government’s View is Private is Best
The Purchaser Provider Split
Splitting the Committees
Direct Works
Awarding the Contracts
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Editor’s Comments

The sub-headings were not in the original. There have been minor typographical and layout changes. As far as I know, Kath wasn’t involved directly in the service areas that are covered by this chapter, other than the school meals perhaps. I feel she hasn’t covered this topic as thoroughly as some of the other chapters. I found some of the detail in this chapter too hard to follow.


[1] Government privatisation of Water came into Law 6th July 1989. Council resolution: “[we] call on opposition parties in Parliament to make clear that a future Parliament will take back into ownership of the nation the assets of privatised water companies with no recompense for shareholders.”

[2] National and Local Government Officers Association (NALGO), National Union of Public Employees (NUPE), General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB) and Transport and General Workers Union TGWU)

[3] The membership of all council committees and sub-committees had to reflect the political balance on the Council. Working parties were outside of the official structure and so could be composed of just one political party. The Privatisation Working Party (PWP) was set up on 12th June 1989 with Nick Harris as Chair, Val Dunn and Gordon Conquest as deputies, and 11 other members – Chair (or nominee) from each of the following committees: Policy and Resources, Finance, Personnel, Direct Works, Housing, Education, Environmental Services, Leisure, Social Services, plus Bill Risby and Shirley McCardell.

[4] A campaign ‘Feed Me Better’ started by TV chef, Jamie Oliver, after a 4 part documentary series ‘Jamie’s School Dinners’ that he made, which was aired on Channel 4 in 2005.

[5] There were also a few production kitchens – eg at Abraham Moss High school – that transported food out to schools that didn’t have their own kitchens.

[6] Editor’s note: This is not likely to be truly 100% fresh ingredients. This is a typical off the cuff thing that Kath would say without facts to back it up. Read it as ‘a high proportion of’ maybe.

[7] Housing, Social Services, Education, Leisure Services

[8] This proved to be just as unsatisfactory as reporting to the Traded Services Committee and was a great source of angst for the City Catering Chief Officer, Ruth McNeil, for many years. Sho felt that the councillors didn’t give sufficient importance to catering issues.

[9] A six year contract to start in Jan 1991. The Engineering DSO had also won the contract for vehicle maintenance.

[10] Facilities with significant educational use that were exempted from competition were – School swimming pools; Abraham Moss & Moss Side Leisure centres; Debdale sailing centre; Belle Vue athletics facility; Ardwick module; Ten Acres astro-turf; Arcadia and the Forum Theatre and leisure complex.

[11] The indoor package included Gorton Tub, Chorlton Leisure centre, and the swimming baths at Broadway, Harpurhey, Varley St, Levenshulme, Victoria and Withington. The outdoor package included Belle Vue Athletics centre, Platt Lane football complex, Ten Acres Lane astro-turf, Boggart Hole Clough Athletics track and Wythenshawe Athletics track.

[12] ‘Competition, Contracts and Change: Local Authority Experience of CCT (Future & Local Government)’, Nirmala Rao and Ken Young, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Aug 1995. Summary PDF available from viewed February 2016

[13] Quoted on page 8 of ‘The Local Government Bill: Best Value and Council Tax Capping’ (Bill 5 of 1998/99). House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/1. Available from ResearchBriefing/Summary/RP99-1 Viewed February 2016.
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