William Eichler 31 May 2019

Three-quarters of councils move to insource services

Local authorities are rejecting the outsourcing of services in favour of delivering services in-house, a not-for-profit local government body has found.

A new study from the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) has revealed an increase in popularity for bringing services in-house.

Based on a 2017 survey which attracted 208 respondents, the report shows that 73% of councils indicated that they had started – or were in the process of starting – insourcing a service.

Around 45% reported having already completed the process.

Rebuilding Capacity: the case for insourcing services argues that insourcing has become a popular response to austerity because it gives councillors and service users more democratic control of service provision.

The report also says that the ‘promised efficiencies’ of outsourcing have failed to deliver, with contract management fees, variation fees on work and difficulties in specifying complex services leading to cost increases.

Around 64% of local authorities cited greater efficiency as their reason for turning to insourcing and near to 60% said they were doing so to improve quality.

The APSE report also argues that long-term contracts are ‘inflexible’ and that the idea of transferring risk to private providers is an illusion because councils are forced to intervene when contracts fail.

‘Outsourced contracts can often be inflexible; limiting innovation and ultimately costing more to deliver and manage; adding costs that the public purse can ill-afford,’ said the report author Mo Baines.

‘Insourcing is not a passive reaction to contract failure but is increasingly a pragmatic and proactive response by councils to deliver better quality services that add rather than extract value.’

APSE chief executive Paul O’Brien commented: ‘By taking back control of local services, insourcing can make it much easier for councils to adopt a community wealth building approach to service delivery; allowing for supply change management, jobs and skills and environmental endeavours.

‘As austerity continues to bite, this report has found that insourcing has helped many councils across the UK lock wealth into their local communities and drive prosperity.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - Adult Social Care (CLDT)

Bolton Council
£31,895
This is a permanent Social Work role in Adult Social Care. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Principal Programme Officer

Bolton Council
£35,336
Do you enjoy variety and change? Can you keep your eye on the detail whilst also thinking strategically? Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

IDT Junior Developer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£28,226 - £30,095
Telford & Wrekin Council are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated Junior Developer. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Activities Leader (Outdoor Adventurous Activities)

Leicestershire County Council
£20,856
Lead activities and ensure that delivery of programmes are of a high standard. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Transition Support Worker (Complex Needs)

Leicestershire County Council
£19,701
This is an exciting opportunity for to work with an experienced team delivering high quality learning opportunities and care. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.