A call for public sector changes to be properly tested and for staff to be consulted on and involved in reforms has come from TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber.

In a TUC analysis of reforms taking place across the full range of public services, Barber says: "A state of ‘permanent revolution’ in public services is running the risk of squandering the investment and improvements made by the government.

“Dedicated public servants do not want to put the brakes on reform. But they do want changes to be properly tested to ensure they will improve quality and not harm the services public sector staff and their families rely upon.

“Ministers should consult and involve staff in reforms to make sure they are planned and delivered to make a real difference."

One of the cases cited in the analysis was the outsourcing NHS Logistics, an award-winning service that had embraced modern IT to streamline the distribution of goods around the NHS. Staff went on strike in protest at the outsourcing of the service to courier firm, DHL.

The TUC said: “The outsourcing of key functions, such as NHS Logistics, threatens to weaken the health sector’s ability to plan and develop its workforce.

“Increased competition between providers risks money being diverted away from treatment and care to marketing to attract the most ‘lucrative’ patients.

“Private companies are no more efficient at delivering health care and will put profit before the decent pay and quality terms and conditions necessary to ensure quality public services.

“Rather than competing, public sector health providers should co-operate to improve services in an environment of stable finances and steady, planned and tested reforms. Patients and staff should be consulted and involved in changes.”

The analysis was released ahead of a planned lobby of Parliament, ‘Speak up for public services’, organised by the TUC on 23 January.