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Outsourcing: companies will be selected on social criteria

It seems like only last week that the Labour Party in the UK was pontificating about rating outsourcing partners in the public sector on social responsibility. W are guilty of scoffing a little in our article reporting on it, as an opposition party can only achieve so much without gaining power.

Whoops.

The UK government itself has now announced much the same thing, according to the Financial Times. Frustration over mismanagement and the collapse of (for example) Carillion has led to a bit of a watershed moment; the government announced today that it will amend the Social Value Act so that outsourcing partners will have to go beyond simple financial value when working with governments.

We applaud this – it absolutely should be in everybody’s interests and not a party political issue to ensure that decency prevails in the public sector. We might want to add, however, that the financials are important too. Yes, there are questions remaining to be asked about how Carillion collapsed and the Public Accounts Committee continues to pressure outsourcing companies of all sorts. Adding a social dimension will help. But excluding the financial would make no sense whatsoever.

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