Letter: The privatisation of Civil Service work

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The Independent Online
Sir: Madsen Pirie is completely wrong to state that where in- house bids are not allowed during a market test of Civil Service work, the savings to the taxpayer are greater. The reverse is actually true.

A recent major analysis by my union of 1,200 market tests, the most comprehensive study since market testing began two years ago, showed that the private sector wins just one in seven contracts when it faces Civil Service opposition.

Since all market-testing contracts are awarded on the basis of the lowest bid, taking into account quality factors, the success rate of in-house bids, where they are allowed, clearly demonstrates that bids from the Civil Service are a lot cheaper.

Dr Pirie and those who would like to witness an even greater retreat of the state from the provision of central government services may wish to perpetuate the myth that the Civil Service is somehow less efficient than the private sector, but market testing, ironically, has shown what an outdated view this now is.

That is why, with the failure of market testing, those on the ideological right are now clamouring for outright privatisation, which eliminates any possibility of the public sector retaining the work.

Yours faithfully,


General Secretary

The Civil and Public

Services Association

London, SW11

24 May