Outsourcing does not make public services better, Finnish politicians believe

More than half of Finnish politicians believe that outsourcing makes it more difficult to get equal access to welfare services. This came out in a survey on opinions offered by politicians and political leaders.

A total of 55 per cent of those replied agreed that outsourcing would make it more difficult to get equal services. Equal accessibility will become better, replied 16 per cent. Outsourcing doesn’t influence services at all, said 29 per cent.

Out of national level politicians those who most staunchly held to the weakening accessibility position were the Social Democrats (91 per cent) and members of the Left Alliance (83 per cent). The figure was also high among activists of the Finns Party (53 per cent) and the Green Party (50 per cent).

On the other side 55 per cent of politicians of the National Coalition Party believed that outsourcing would make services more equally available. In the Centre Party the same figure was 43 per cent. Not a single politician from the Social Democratic Party, Left Alliance and Green Party said they believe outsourcing would make services more equal.

Local level view is a bit different

Politicians at local level voiced quite similar opinions to their national level colleagues. However, scepticism concerning the benefits of outsourcing was a bit more widespread at local level than among politicians at the national level.

“A majority of the political class see that public services are a vital vehicle which greatly contributes to the cohesiveness of Finnish society, says Jarkko Eloranta, chairperson of The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL.

“It is clearly advantageous for the public sector to produce public services and keep these services in the public domain. This is the way to best guarantee that they are effective and that every citizen will get the services he needs.”

The politicians were also asked whether they believe outsourcing will negatively affect the quality of services. A total of 42 per cent of all those who replied said yes, whereas 25 per cent believed that quality would go up. No effect in any way, said 33 per cent.

The local level replies followed same political lines as those for the question of accessibility. With one major exception: all of the national level politicians of the National Coalition Party believed outsourcing would result in better quality services but only 66 per cent of party’s local level politicians shared that view.

“The local level politicians of the National Coalition Party are better attuned to municipal reality than their national level colleagues”, Eloranta concludes.

The survey was commissioned by the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. A total of 1,362 politicians replied, among them candidates for the European Parliament, members of the Finnish Parliament, municipal council members and leaders of party district organisations.

Helsinki (13.8.2014 – Heikki Jokinen)

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