Out of Contract

Public managers and elected members have extensive experience of procuring goods and services and contracting for supply from private firms and charities. But, say you are the new town or county hall leader. New councillors will be asking: do we have an accurate map of council functions, coloured by who carries them out? If it… Read More...

Carillion shows us why public service providers must act ethically

The Committee of Standards in Public Life has made a timely intervention in the outsourcing debate. Its recommendations should be implemented without delay, says John Tizard. The Committee for Standards in Public Life recently suggested public service providers meet the same ethical standards expected of the public sector itself. Specifically, it recommends that: All public… Read More...

The contracting conundrum

The dawning realisation that public service contracting has had its day can only grow after 3 May. As new councillors settle in and town halls change political colour, they will further question the shibboleths of the post-1980 era of ‘new public management’ – especially the belief that outsourcing major services out to companies is necessarily… Read More...

Local authority officers – be ahead of the curve and advise politicians on how to move on from outsourcing

Local government is increasingly questioning the wisdom and efficacy of traditional outsourcing of services to the business sector. Politicians and their senior officers are aware of a raft of high-profile outsourcing failures, and what is more the public is increasingly aware of these. Labour, Conservative and councils with no overall political control are taking services… Read More...

Why ‘insourcing’ should always be considered

Councils are increasingly looking to ‘in-house’ services that previously been outsourced. Finance directors intending to do this need better information about contracts, say David Walker and John Tizard. Finance professionals across the public sector are increasingly alert to the need to rethink outsourcing. Conservative as well as Labour councils are ‘in-housing’ services previously tendered to… Read More...

Does the DCMS understand or care about civil society?

The government should commit to much more than it is doing in its consultation on civil society, writes our columnist. Civil society is vital to our social, economic and environmental wellbeing, so it is appropriate that the government should have a strategy to support the development of a strong, sustainable civil society, and indeed it… Read More...

Rebranding will not solve the problems of public service outsourcing

Outsourcing needs more than a refresh and rebrand, argues John Tizard. A pause to collect some evidence is urgently required. It is interesting but not surprising that the public service outsourcing industry is calling for the industry to fight back against the political and public concern of the policy and practice of outsourcing public services.… Read More...

We need to know who the public sector contracts with and how they perform

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has told the Government that it needs to better understand the number of contracts held across departments by a single private company, and how it is performing in those contracts. This comes after the Committee considered the failure of the largest commercial further education (FE) provider, ‘learndirect’.… Read More...