Union welcomes forensic privatisation victory


Union welcomes forensic privatisation victory

The scientists’ union Prospect welcomed the announcement from the Home Office that the Forensic Science Service is to remain in the public sector as a government-owned company (GovCo).

On behalf of over 1,300 members working as scientists and other specialist staff in FSS, Prospect General Secretary Paul Noon said the decision marked the end of the immediate threat of government plans to privatise a highly effective public service.

Noon said: "Today’s announcement is recognition of the vital importance of the Forensic Science Service to the UK’s criminal justice system and the very real fears held by our members, and other stakeholders, that a privatised FSS would risk a loss of impartiality. This is not an organisation that can be allowed to crumble under the pressure of shareholder demands and therefore needs to be maintained within a public sector framework.

"Our members are delighted after two years of fierce campaigning against privatisation that they have secured assurances that the service has at least two years stability as a GovCo before any further review of its future takes place."

The government announced plans to set up FSS as a public-private partnership in July last year with between 51-75% of shares being sold to a private sector investor.

But the sell-off, which would have left Britain with the only privatised Forensic Science Service in the world, was widely condemned by FSS staff, MPs from across the political spectrum, police officers and other key stakeholders in the justice system.

Prospect is set to begin talks with FSS management over the transfer of staff terms and conditions to the new organisation.