Cabinet Office publishes Outsourcing Playbook
This week saw the Cabinet Office announce the launch of the new Outsourcing Playbook, whose “guidance will ensure that the government gets right more projects from the start, engages with a diverse and healthy marketplace of companies, including small businesses and charities, and is ready for the rare occasions when things go wrong.”
New measures announced today include changes to how government allocates risk between itself and its suppliers, to ensure contracts are set-up for success and the public are provided with the best possible service.
The government is also taking steps to improve the design of outsourcing projects from their inception. New complex contracts will be piloted with the private sector before rolling out fully, enabling the government to learn from experience and deliver better public services.
Measures in the Playbook include:
- Requirement for Pilots: enabling the government to learn from experience and deliver better public services
- Risk Allocation: to ensure contracts are set up for success from the outset
- Key Performance Indicators: KPIs from every new outsourcing contract will be made publicly available
- Resolution Plans (Living Wills): for the rare event of the supplier’s corporate failure
- Publication of Pipelines: departments will be required to regularly publish their upcoming requirements, to help suppliers plan ahead
- Make versus Buy Decisions: to identify when it is best to deliver public services in house or when there is benefit to drawing on the expertise of the private sector
Responding to the release earlier this week, PSTA CEO Benjamin Taylor said:
We welcome this new guidance on government outsourcing, which is coherent and very well put together. It’s particularly gratifying that the value of the Cabinet Office Commissioning Academy, which we run and which has been developing since 2011, is recognised. Outsourcing is being seen as a definite choice, not a default. This mature approach to the management of decision-making and the outsourcing process shows how smart procurement is critical in the broader context of commissioning, social value, and an outcomes focus.
We hope that the government will now also demonstrate commitment to this wider context, and support capability building in commissioning, transformation, and a real focus on citizen outcomes.