This project arose out of a shared concern between private, public and third sector public services organisations. At a time of severe cost pressure the findings of this report are a timely reminder that a race to the bottom does not benefit anyone, and that outsourcing can produce higher quality public services when there is good workforce practice and the workforce is fully engaged in procurement, service design and delivery.

An initial seminar brought together many stakeholders from the public, third and business sector as well as trade unions, policy researchers and commentators; a steering group of project sponsors then commissioned the IPA to produce 6 case studies exploring a range of outsourcing practice.

The central finding of these case studies is the strong relationship between good employment relations and workforce practices, and high quality public service delivery. Those providers that treated their workforce fairly, engaged and involved them and their representatives, were often better able to implement change effectively, meeting service user and purchaser needs.

It is clear that reputable employers, employees and their representatives are all determined to find ways in which quality of services can be maintained in the coming months and years. This report, we believe, goes some way to demonstrate the dangers and advantages involved in outsourcing. 

To download the full report please click here.