An All Party report on Outsourcing – funded by the National Outsourcing Association?

Is it right that an all party group of MP’s supported by the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) should produce a report bearing the House of Commons logo that promotes outsourcing?

In 2011 the National Outsourcing Association funded the production of a report by an All party parliamentary group that includes ten recommendations for the Government and suppliers to implement within 18 months.

The recommendations are all very helpful to organisations that want to benefit from outsourced services. The report itself makes no mention of some of the spectacular failures that have occurred in relation to outsourcing where billions have been spent and nothing has been achieved such as the 12.5 billion wasted on the failed NHS IT contract. Or the more public but less costly G4S issues at the Olympics where the public sector had to step in to ensure security.

It is interesting to note that much of the evidence submitted to the All party group came from Premier members of the National Outsourcing Association?

There is no real criticism in the report or lessons learnt from failed contracts. In fact it is a really positively stated document that is clearly designed to promote outsourcing – it is in fact probably the type of report that the NOA would have wanted to write and would have produced themselves.

The report actually states:

“Criticism of outsourcing in general could breed reluctance to extend outsourcing to non-typical
areas such as the middle office and front office. If there are benefits to be gained – why
impose a false dichotomy?”

Middle and front office – now where have I heard that one before – oh yes in relation to the police outsourcing document jointly produced by West Midlands and Surrey Constabularies last year which listed front office roles such as patrols and investigation in its tender documentation.

One commentator Calchas sums up the report & the recommendations in an entirely different some might say more realistic way putting an entirely different spin on the recommendations.

This alternative point of view is also reported in an article in Computer Weekly which asked whether the All party group was a waste of time?

Outsourcing is actively supported by the Government as it attempts to reduce costs. According to another Computing Weekly article public sector outsourcing is currently worth 80 billion and has the potential to grow to 140 billion by 2015. This is a growth business and there are plenty of companies out there that want a slice of the pie.

Members of the NOA would rightly expect their association to lobby government on their behalf and that is part of the associations role – to lobby MP’s. The fact that it has funded a House of Commons report is I assume within the rules and perfectly acceptable? Is it some form of insider lobbying?

In my opinion the report is overly positive and biased towards outsourcing & this makes me question its neutrality especially as it bears the House of Commons logo.

Had there been some balance in the report some lessons to be learnt from some of the failures it would have less of a question mark against it for me.

What do you think am I being overly suspicious?


2 thoughts on “An All Party report on Outsourcing – funded by the National Outsourcing Association?

  1. retiredandangry

    The whole point of outsourcing is to save the public purse some money. It appears that the outsource providers do very nicely thank you from their contracts and provide their shareholders a good, healthy dividend. If this is so, then surely they can reduce the cost of the services provided even further and save the public purse even more money. What is supposed to be a symbiotic relationship has become a parasitic one.

  2. retiredandangry

    With regard to the All Party Parliamentary Group report, I find it very difficult to take seriously any report where the 1st thing in it, after the foreword, are the recommendations. Smacks of a report that has been written to fit the recommendations.


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