Outsourcing here to stay, says Cabinet Office minister Lidington

25 Jun 18

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to outsourcing, at a speech to the Reform think-tank this morning.

The MP for Aylesbury told his audience in London that public services “can be provided more efficiently at lower cost and at better value” by involving the private sector. 

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he has also revealed today the government is to introduce new rules for companies working on public contracts.

This will mean companies working with the public sector will be required to publish data showing how taxpayers’ money is being spent, how they are addressing the gender pay gap and improving ethnic minority representation.

Lidington told the Reform event this morning: “Governments of all colours have done outsourcing because the benefits of outsourcing are clear.

“What matters is that the service works for the people who use them while providing value for money.”

To see Lidington deliver his speech, see this tweet [story continues below]: 



He admitted that there was a need for “more diversified markets” with outsourcing in the UK and explained how the government wants more charities, social enterprises and mutuals to bid for public services contracts.

He also said the new outsourcing rules would extend the requirements of the 2013 Social Value Act, which requires commissioners of public services to think about how they secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits through contracting.

“We will develop proposals for government’s biggest suppliers to provide action plans for how they plan to address key social issues and disparities.

“We will extend the requirements of the Social Value Act so that contracts are awarded on the basis of more than just value for money – but a company's values too.”

Carillion – the outsourcing and construction company that collapsed in January – “reminds us that it is real people who suffer when things go wrong”, Lidington said.

“It is the duty of all of us to build a fairer society.” He said that if a private sector company failed it was that private company “who should bear the brunt”.

He also said that the government was planning on writing cyber security standards into all new contracts, mentioning the devastating Wannacry attack on the NHS last May.

“[We] must ensure values are placed at the heart of our public services,” he told the audience.

Earlier this year CIPFA hosted a roundtable debate on the future of public service outsourcing. Read the report of the debate here

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