A branch of Unite’s voluntary sector worker members has called on the union to urge charity chief executives who are part of Acevo to leave the organisation in protest at Sir Stephen Bubb’s involvement in “the break-up and marketisation of the NHS”.
Some 50 voluntary sector members of Unite from organisations including Crisis, Greenpeace and Amnesty International are in support of the move, and will ask the rest of not-for-profit membership to vote on whether to take action at its next National Industrial Sector Committee.
The Unite London and Eastern Region for community, youth workers and not-for-profits has tabled a motion, seen by civilsociety.co.uk, which will be debated by other Unite branches involved in the community and voluntary sector on October 17th.
The motion, entitled Stephen Bubb, accuses him of playing a major role in imposing the doctrine of “any qualified provider” on the NHS.
It adds: “He has done this on the basis that the voluntary sector (as well as the private sector) could gain financially through bidding to carry out public services.
“All the evidence now emerging shows that voluntary sector groups are being driven out of the bidding wars for the provision of public services – for example the Work Programme – in favour of the private sector, thus proving the truth of the prediction made several years ago that the voluntary sector simply serves as a 'stalking horse' or a cover for private companies in the privatisation of public services.”
The motion says Unite should publicise Sir Stephen’s activities and calls on charity chief executives to leave Acevo in protest.
Last year, Sir Stephen Bubb was appointed to the NHS Future Forum to assess choice and competition when the government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill was going through Parliament.
Sir Stephen was appointed following mounting criticism of the Bill to take part in a “listening exercise” which would review the proposed reforms.
Critics of the bill include public sector union Unison, who said at the time that it would "bring wholesale competition into the NHS".
Responding to Unite’s motion, Sir Stephen said: "Public sector unions are entitled to their views, but my position has always been that if someone wants to spend the last days of their life in a hospice rather than a hospital, or receive support from a mental health charity rather than the state, they should be allowed to. My members provide great services using NHS funding, and I will always champion their ability to do so."
Unite's community, youth worker and not-for-profit sector covers around 60,000 members.