Poll finds support for increased outsourcing transparency

16 Mar 15

More than two-thirds of people think information about public sector outsourcing deals should be made more accessible and transparent, according to a survey.

The poll, commissioned by campaign group We Own It, asked over 1,000 people of all political persuasions for their views on outsourcing. It found that 68% agreed that the public should have a legal right to be consulted about outsourcing, as well as access to information. Support for this stance was strongest among Labour and Ukip voters.

Half of respondents said they wanted to see more public services run in-house, compared to a fifth (22%) who said more services should be outsourced.

Commenting on the findings, Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: ‘Government hands over our public services to private providers under the veil of “commercial confidentiality” – it’s old fashioned and undemocratic. We don’t know what’s been agreed in our name and with our public money.’

Hobbs called for a Public Service Users Bill to bring in greater transparency and accountability to outsourcing. This would also place a requirement on commissioners to consider the option of keeping public services in-house.

Against the backdrop of some high-profile outsourcing controversies, the CBI business group has proposed the introduction of open-book accounting for public service outsourcing deals.

  • Vivienne Russell

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

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