About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

Recent Blog Posts...

Hijacking Procurement
Ken Cole
Mar 25, 2013
Mr Pickles uses the 'P word'.
Ken Cole
Mar 07, 2013
Haringey Leads London
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Feb 14, 2013
Time to rethink Supplier Evaluation
Ken Cole
Aug 30, 2012
Smoke and Mirrors in Whitehall!
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Jul 12, 2012
Collaboration at its best
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May 25, 2012
Latest Procurement Card Scare
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Mar 21, 2012
iESE - a model for a Big Society?
Ken Cole
Mar 06, 2012
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
Ken Cole
Feb 03, 2012

To outsource or not? That is the question!

May 04, 2011


The BBC News service were very quick to refer to leaked government documents that suggest the Coalition has decided the "wholesale outsourcing" of public services to the private sector would be politically "unpalatable". Clearly, this is not official and current experience of the Coalition suggests that this may change in the future, probably several times over. What is encouraging though is that Ministers (aka Francis Maude) think that charities, social enterprises and employee-owned "mutual" organisations could step in and deliver the desired cost reductions.

All this seems very sensible, but what is scary is that the only reason for not going down this route is the lack of political support Is that it then? What about the lack of a business case on so many occasions? What about market conditioning? What about failure to deliver results – see earlier South West One posting? What about cost to the tax payer and the resultant ROI to us, the British public, rather than overseas shareholders?

I support outsourcing – but only when it is done for the right reasons and not because of ideological dogma. I think employee owned social enterprises and ‘mutuals’ are the way forward. Not only do we get focused businesses but we unleash the spirit of enterprise that the huge outsourcing corporates lost some 30 years ago!


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