We need a vibrant ecosystem of providers but I expect G4S to emerge stronger after review

The reward will be savings for taxpayers

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The Independent Online

The past few months have been tough for outsourcing. Some doubt the model. The National Audit Office is investigating the sector. And today the Public Accounts Committee will question some of the Government’s biggest suppliers. But we must not step back. The reward will be a healthier outsourcing marketplace and savings for taxpayers.

Since the general election, we have supported new players to enter the service market. More than 80 mutuals have spun out from the public sector. No longer is there a binary choice between bureaucratic in-house  provision and red-blooded privatisation. Mutuals, joint ventures, social enterprises: all should be part of a rich  ecosystem of public service providers.

People ask if our reviews of contracts is Government “getting tough” on suppliers who have had it too easy for too long. It’s not that simple. I want the companies we are reviewing to emerge renewed and stronger. Our reviews into G4S and Serco’s contracts are rigorous and extensive. But when they report, and we are satisfied full health has been restored, we will move on quickly.

My mission is to save  taxpayers money, improve public services, and boost growth. We need a vibrant mix of the very best suppliers – a hybrid economy of diverse partners. Yes, it’s been a tough few months. But let no one have any doubt. Public services are too important to too many people to be allowed to be the monopoly of the public sector.

Francis Maude is a minister for the Cabinet Office