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Smith Institute urges brake on outsourcing

UK readers will be aware of the fallout over the failure of Carillion in the outsourcing space. Numerous voices have called for reforms and even abandonment of outsourcing as a default practice.

Now it appears the think tanks are getting in on the act. Earlier this week the Smith Institute issued a statement suggesting that the British government stop its “love-in” (the institute’s phrase) with the outsourcing industry.

For what it’s worth, even when we were called Professional Outsourcing Magazine, this is something we believed passionately. A love-in with the private sector is as bad as a love-in with the public sector because of a simple but true cliche: love, you see, is blind.

Love means opting for one option over the other before examining the evidence. It means irrationality and often putting a major decision ahead of the evidence. Put in these terms it seems obvious to us that the sensible way of entering a contract is to see what’s going to work and what’s going to deliver best value to the stakeholders, whether these are customers and shareholders in the private sectors or tax payers in government bodies.

We would love to know why so many decision makers on either side of the fence find this so difficult.

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