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If in doubt, outsource

Jane Dudman

The Guardian Public

22 September 2009

PA outsourcing specialist Mark Brett has contributed to The Guardian Public article on the benefits of outsourcing for the public sector. Mark is quoted extensively in the article which explores the potentially valuable opportunities the government has to look at the way it runs services as many longstanding IT contracts come up for retendering.

Mark Brett, a senior outsourcing specialist at PA, says that if the government were a multinational, it would now be asking for a "really accurate" picture of where back-office services could be aligned.

Mark goes on to comment on the benefits of a strategic approach to outsourcing. "The government needs to raise the discussion up a level. It's about setting out guiding principles and a clear direction for outsourcing contracts."

PA voices a note of caution in the article on the danger of seeing outsourcing as a panacea. The article refers to a PA report, published earlier this year, which warns that a sustained focus on reducing costs through outsourcing contracts risks undermining good relationships between suppliers and customers in the private and public sector.

PA goes on to talk about the importance of managing contracts with outsourcing suppliers effectively, and that these contracts require a certain level of investment from the customer.  When weighing up all the costs, major contracts may turn out to be either neutral or only marginally beneficial in cost.

"It has to try and find different ways of working and ways of innovating. That has to be a better route to cutting costs. It's all about working with suppliers, rather than simply rushing to get contracts signed."

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