How much is that doggy in the window?

28 September 2010
That was the song title that captures procurement, according to Experian’s head of procurement Mark Langrish, featured in My Way To The Top in SM’s latest issue. But perhaps we should actually be pondering what breed of canine is being offered up for sale. What’s its character? Does it have a tendency to bark loudly through the night? How’s its bite? And when it comes to the bottom line, is it house-trained? Or will it chew up all you hold dear? As long as you consulted the rest of the household before purchasing in the pet shop, you may be all right. So, where is all this going? Suffolk County Council is in the spotlight for deciding to outsource most of its services in an effort to reduce its annual £1.1 billion budget by 30 per cent. The council said that in future, it will focus more on commissioning services and supporting other organisations, including voluntary sector and community groups, to deliver services. Council leader Jeremy Pembroke said: “The coalition requires lesser government and a bigger society, and Suffolk County Council has responded to this change.” In his speech to CIPS Conference delegates in London last week, Michael Portillo said an increasing number of local authorities will consider outsourcing more services in response to the government’s bid to make deep public sector cuts. One Suffolk councillor said the authority will start with the easier to outsource services such as libraries and move on to the more controversial. But by starting with the puppy dogs, is the move only putting off the inevitable job of outsourcing the meatier British bulldog-like operations? As government cuts are made, this tale will wag on – but how far will local authorities go down the outsourcing path?
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