Outsourcers agree to open themselves to public scrutiny

5 Mar 14

Public service outsourcing firms today said they were willing to start using open-book accounting and allow their contracts to be scrutinised by the National Audit Office

Public service outsourcing firms today said they were willing to start using open-book accounting and allow their contracts to be scrutinised by the National Audit Office.

The CBI set out a series of measures aimed at boosting trust and confidence in outsourcing. Other suggestions included publication of all government contracts online and a proactive effort to make information as accessible and comparable as possible.

CBI director general John Cridland said public service businesses recognised that they operated in an industry that ‘rightly’ demands close public scrutiny.

‘We can’t ignore the fact that confidence in the sector has been badly hit by several high-profile failures and that it will take time and meaningful change to rebuild it,’ he said.

Ruby McGregor-Smith, chief executive of Mitie and chair of the CBI’s public services board, added that all businesses needed to do more to build a trusting relationship with the public.

‘To make that happen, Mitie, along with other CBI public services businesses are committing to releasing more information proactively, publishing all government contracts online, being open and honest about our profits and being independently audited.’

The CBI restated its assertion of the value of the outsourcing industry, which it said contributed almost £50bn a year to the UK economy and provided over 5 million jobs.

While acknowledging that there had been some high-profile failures in outsourcing, Cridland said anti-business rhetoric should not be allowed to ‘tar’ the public services industry.

‘The UK needs the expertise, investment, growth and job creation which these innovative firms bring to our economy,’ he said.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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