New analysis published today (Friday) by the TUC finds that private service firms are getting thousands of pounds a year from every UK household to deliver public services.
The analysis estimates that UK households pay an annual average of £3,530 through their taxes to private outsourcing firms that deliver public service contracts.
Based on information from the National Audit Office (NAO), the total amount spent by UK government on outsourced services (excluding goods and equipment) is estimated at £97.4bn.
However, the TUC warns that, despite making the estimate with the best available data, the quality of publicly available information on spending on outsourcing is currently too poor to give taxpayers the clarity they need.
The analysis is published alongside a new TUC report: A Domesday Book for public service contracts – better data, better value for money, and in the anniversary week of Carillion going into liquidation (15 January 2018).
The TUC believes that publicly owned and accountable services are the best way to meet public interests. But where public services are put out to tender, high standards of transparency, accountability and value for taxpayers must be met.
To improve standards, the report proposes a set of actions for government and public service bodies:
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The collapse of Carillion left taxpayers out of pocket and cleaning up the mess. It cost people their jobs and disrupted vital public services. We cannot let it happen again.
“Our preferred model is public ownership and delivery. But if outsourcing is used, working people must not be left in the dark. It’s their taxes that pay for it.
“We need new independent bodies to protect the interests of taxpayers. They should shine a light on every penny that private service firms take from the public purse. And they should make sure the public always gets a good deal, with high quality services and good pay and conditions for staff.”
- TUC report: The full TUC report A Domesday Book for public service contracts – better data, better value for money is here: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Domesday%20Book%20for%20public%20service%20contracts.pdf
It was written for the TUC by David Walker (a former director at the Audit Commission), and John Tizard (strategic adviser and formerly a senior executive at Capita and Labour leader Bedfordshire County Council).
- TUC estimate for spending on outsourcing:
- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.