Innovation and changeGovernment TechnologyCivil Services gets a guidance document for Outsourcing Decisions and Contracting

Civil Services gets a guidance document for Outsourcing Decisions and Contracting

The 56-page long handbook aims at streamlining the process of outsourcing government contracts

To help contracts work better, the government has published Outsourcing Playbook, a collaborative effort across central government and suppliers, that would help improve government’s engagement with the private sector.

Parliamentary Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “Outsourcing can deliver significant benefits, including value for money and more innovative public services. Our new measures will improve how the government works with industry and provide better public services for people across the country.”

Government’s process of procuring public service has come under immense public scrutiny in the last few months following the breakdown of Carillion last year and the recent concerns over Interserve’s financial health.

Commenting on risk mitigation of public sector contracts, Dowden said: “I can provide reassurance that the Playbook makes explicit that, when designing contracts, departments must seek to mitigate, reduce and then allocate risks to the party best able to manage it. A more considered approach to risk allocation will make us a smarter, more attractive client to do business with.”

The 56-page long handbook broadly includes measures like requirements for pilots, which will allow companies to carry out a small part of a service or project as a precursor before being given the whole contract; risk allocation focusing on reducing risks taken by private firms that provide public services; KPIs like such as response rates, on-time delivery and customer feedback; resolution plan; and make versus buy decisions to evaluate the choice between internal strengths and external expertise.

Additionally, the department will be mandated to frequently publish their forthcoming requirements for helping suppliers in planning ahead.

The list of key policies in the handbook includes:

  1. Publication of Commercial Pipelines
  2. Market Health and Capability Assessments
  3. Project Validation Reviews (PVR)
  4. Make versus Buy assessments
  5. Should Cost Modelling
  6. Requirement for Pilots
  7. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  8. Risk Allocation
  9. Pricing and payment mechanisms
  10. Assessing the Economic and Financial Standing of Suppliers
  11. Resolution Planning

The handbook also outlines the challenges associated with delivering public services as a result of a study of what, why and how the government outsources.

Earlier, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington, announced his goal of rebuilding public trust in government and its suppliers through changes in procurement rules. This will involve ensuring social value is included in assessments of providers for government work and increasing transparency that will determine the course of action in the event of a corporate failure.

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