The Shrinking State
Why the rush to outsource threatens our public services
This report for Unite by Howard Reed of Landman Economics challenges many of the assumptions cited by those pushing the outsourcing agenda. It argues that reform needs to be based on sound, evidence-supported arguments – not on an ideological drive to ‘shrink the state’. Sustainable change requires the involvement of staff - public service workers and their unions provide the knowledge, insight and experience essential to ensuring reform is effective and deliverable.
Among his conclusions are:
- Government plans to outsource public services are being rushed through without proper consultation, planning or evaluation;
- expanding outsourcing in the current climate of severe cuts to public spending means declines in service quality are almost inevitable;
- there are clear dangers that increased outsourcing will result in reduced transparency and democratic accountability of service provision;
- a mass shift of service provision to the not-for-profit sector runs the risk of being the long and painful route to privatisation;