William Eichler 25 March 2019

Labour pledges to end outsourcing of services dealing with ‘at risk’ people

The Labour Party has pledged to end the outsourcing of services that involve contact with people who are considered to be ‘at risk’.

Under Labour’s plans, whenever a contract expires or is terminated, central or local government will be required to assess whether that service involves significant contact with ‘at risk’ groups.

They will also need to consider whether that service involves the exercise of coercive powers or risk of infringement of people’s rights.

These kinds of services include assessments for sick and disabled people claiming social security, NHS care, the treatment of people in detention centres and prisons, and failures over recruitment and substandard housing for the Armed Forces.

If the assessment concludes that the service deals with the above groups then statutory guidance will be to bring the service back in house.

However, the relevant authority will not be required to bring the service in house if the contract does not fall under a statutory definition of ‘relevant contract’ or if the value of the contract is below a certain threshold.

The service will also not have to be brought in house if the contract is between local authorities or between a council and another public body, or if the public authority can demonstrate that it has ‘good reason’ to override statutory guidance.

’Labour is proposing a radical new settlement that gives people the power to end outsourcing and decide for themselves how best to deliver the services they need,’ said Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s shadow communities and local government secretary.

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