CBI urges UK government to be open about supplier costs and performance

Andrew Pring
2 November 2014

The CBI is calling on the UK government to introduce full transparency in the costs and performance of its private and public suppliers in order to deliver best value for money.

In a report published this week - Our future public services: a challenge for us all – the employers’ organisation argues public services require fundamental re-shaping to better meet public needs, rather than simply cutting budgets – leading to poorer quality services.

The CBI says: “In order to win people’s confidence in the way services are delivered, all providers must be equally transparent about costs and performance using the same measures, so the public and commissioners can make informed choices based on quality and value for money. In the longer term, government should be able to assess objectively which provider is best placed to run any service through open, fair competition.”

Referring to “a long-standing trust deficit in government’s ability to successfully reform public services”, the CBI argued “the public debate is not a well-informed one and there isn’t genuine comparability between different services and providers.

“It is therefore essential all providers of public services, whether they are in the public, private or voluntary sectors, are equally transparent about their costs, performance and ability to deliver.”

To achieve this, all providers must be able to compete fairly and on the same terms, in particular treating capital investment and pension liabilities in the same way across sectors.

The CBI also urges the government to establish a new fiscal rule once the deficit has been eliminated ensuring that public spending never outstrips revenue receipts.

Warning that politicians “have yet to grasp the pace and scale of change required if the UK is to live within its means and provide the services people expect after next year’s general election”, the report calls for more services to be available online and encourages the physical co-location of some services in order to combine greater efficiency with joining up services.

The report said integrating social care and health services by combining budgets and commissioning systems would save money and improve clinical outcomes by moving care from hospitals into homes and communities

Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general, commented: “We want to see reform underpinned by a new fiscal rule ensuring that public spending never outstrips revenue receipts once the deficit is eliminated in 2018-19. And a cross-party commission, with citizen representation, should be set up to answer tough questions about how we overhaul our public services for the 21st Century and beyond.”

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