Since Margaret Thatcher forced compulsory competitive tendering on councils, there has been, astonishingly, no evidence and no research to prove whether outsourcing is value for money. There are no controlled trials, no measuring long-term effects or knock-on costs to the state of lowering pay, finds the Smith Institute.
Outside the gates of the British Museum last week 60 outsourced cleaners, porters, technicians, plumbers and electricians petitioned to be taken back in-house. They were handed over to Carillion five years ago. Now the company’s bankruptcy leaves them in limbo, and they want to return as the museum colleagues they once were.
But where are the rest of them? Carillion crowed to Facilities Management World that it was taking over 138 museum staff in a “hugely prestigious contract”. But those 138 have dwindled to just 60, for the same volume of work. That’s how outsourcing operates, cutting more brutally than public employers dare.
That is a trial right there isn’t it?