Latest Public Sector News

12.11.13

NAO investigates outsourced public sector contracts

There must be greater transparency over the role of major contractors in public service delivery, the National Audit Office (NAO) has urged.

Two new reports warn that there is a lack of transparency over the role these contractors play, the rewards they make and the way they perform.

Greater scrutiny is needed over whether public services are sufficiently competitive, whether contractor’s profits reflect a fair return, and whether contractors are delivering services to expected high standards, the new memorandum, The role of major contractors in the delivery of public services, indicates.

The NAO called for more transparency over performance and the use of contractual entitlement to information, audit and inspection. A focus on short-term savings risks missing out on achieving longer-term value for money through innovation and investment, the second report states.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Contracting with private sector providers is a fast-growing and important part of delivering public services. But there is a crisis of confidence at present, caused by some worrying examples of contractors not appearing to treat the public sector fairly, and of departments themselves not being on top of things.

“While some government departments have been admirably quick off the mark and transparent in investigating problems, there is a clear need to reset the ground rules for both contractors and their departmental customers.”

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