Mark Whitehead 22 January 2018

Pause all outsourcing and PFI contracts, urges think tank

A think tank has called for an end to the Government's 'love-in' with outsourcing and Public Finance Initiatives.

The left-leaning Smith Institute think tank demands an immediate pause in all public service contracting and a review of all existing deals.

Its report, ‘Out of contract: Time to move on from the ‘love in’ with outsourcing and PFI’ follows the Carillion debacle which the institute says has shown the 'serious risks and excessive costs to the taxpayer when government becomes reliant on outsourcing companies.'

It says public sector outsourcing contracts are currently valued at around £100bn a year - but taxpayers will have to pay a further £95bn in charges connected with the deals.

Authors John Tizard, former senior executive of outsourcing specialists Capita, and David Walker, former director at the Audit Commission, say a full examination of outsourcing and PFI deals could lead to many contracts being abandoned and public delivery of public service being reinstated.

They say local government, the devolved administrations and some NHS trusts are taking services back in-house, finding that they can be cheaper, better quality, more flexible and more accountable.

The institute's director Paul Hackett said: 'We need a new approach based on public service values and community benefit, rather than private profiteering.

'This report starts to map out what form that new approach should take.'

Councils have already started to bring services back in-house following the news Carillion has gone into liquidation.

Writing for The MJ (£), John Tizard and David Walker demand a reflection on where the last 30 years of competitive tendering has brought us.

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