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Parliamentary group discusses public sector outsourcing

A newly-formed Parliamentary group will discuss the outsourcing of public sector services at its first meeting on August 23.

The Outsourcing and Shared Services group, chaired by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, will investigate the potential to create savings through outsourcing.

The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) has welcomed the establishment of the group. Martyn Hart, NOA chairman and a PSE contributor, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our members to contribute meaningfully to the debate. It gives them chance to showcase their best practice examples and success stories, helping the public sector investigate how to outsource smarter.”

The UK public sector is one of the biggest users of IT outsourcing services, and the group will look to improve this process, by providing best practice guidelines for the Government.

A recent live debate on the Guardian website showed clearly that opinion is divided on the topic of offshoring IT. Jenni Viitanen, a research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research North, for example, suggests it comes down to cost savings against job losses, while consultant Colin Cram wrote that the move towards offshore will always come down to numbers, because suppliers require a cost base significantly lower than the existing public sector level to enable the Government to make savings.

Robert Morgan, director at sourcing broker Burnt-Oak Partners, suggests that more services may be conducted in-house in the future, saying: “I can see more services being shared by departments and existing suppliers being terminated.”

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