Why privatisation is wrong – from a parent of a child with special needs.
This post is published as a series of blogs about privatisation and in support of the ‘Week of Auctions organised by an alliance of anti-cuts groups across the UK. The following is a personal perspective on disability & local authority services.
By Kathy Wedell
This government wants local authority services to be opened up to privatisation. This will be disastrous for my son Isaac and other children like him.
Isaac has a severe complex condition known as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and uses nineteen different services – including health, education, and social services.
Our family has had to cope with the impact of Isaac’s diagnosis plus the complexity of his day to day care regime. Raising a child with special needs, has been challenging for my family. So, I would ask one thing: Does this government think that we, as parents have the time and budgeting expertise to choose and employ nineteen different services providers, alongside all our other responsibilities as parents of a child with complex special needs?
The idea is just ludicrous. It took us a whole year to get our heads around what exactly Isaac needed. We have trusted our public services – unfortunately privatisation opens up families to being sold unnecessary or inappropriate services by businesses out to make money.
Many children, including Isaac, have complex long term needs involving many services. Services need to be integrated and they need to collaborate. Currently local authorities provide that integrated, collaborative provision as well as have an overview of the services provided. However, privatisation will fragment this and furthermore, fail to deliver any guarantee of continuity.
Children with special educational needs are not charity cases or customers. They are citizens and their services are a right. In seeing privatisation as a replacement for state services, the government is abdicating its responsibility to fund and oversee those services.
In my view, our government must deliver on publicly funded services and be held democratically accountable for them. To ensure that the government does not wash its hands from delivering public services to private greed, I, as a mother am taking part in The Week of Auctions: Services Under the Hammer.