All public service contracting ‘should be paused’

22 Jan 18

The Smith Institute has called on the government to end what it called a “‘love in’ with outsourcing and PFI”, after the fiasco of the Carillion collapse.

A report Out of Contract said there should be an immediate pause in all public service contracting followed by a review of existing deals, which were valued in all at around £100bn a year

Authors John Tizard, a former senior executive at Capita, and David Walker, a former director at the Audit Commission, argued that public delivery should again be the norm in government, policing, the NHS and other services and pointed to a trend for local government, the devolved administrations and some NHS trusts to take services back under direct control.

A new regulator should scrutinise public contracting, they proposed, including how much directors are paid as well as staff employment and conditions and union recognition.

The report said there was a lack of data on outsourcing and PFI deals and a ‘Domesday Book’ listing these was needed urgently.

The authors of the report directly cautioned Labour – the Smith Institute is named after the late party leader John Smith – that any review of outsourcing, following the party's criticism of the concept, needed an evidence base.

Shadow cabinet secretary Jon Trickett said: “Outsourcing and PFI are failed dogmatic experiments.

“Marketisation of public services was sold to us as efficient, with competition ensuring a good deal for the taxpayer and service users. It is clear that this is not the case.”

Tizard and Walker wrote a blog for PF on the report last week

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