Attended another Chatham House rules event in London tonight and it felt a bit like being in the biblical tale mentioned above. The event was organised by PWC on behalf of DCLG and was a launch for the report on 'developing the local government services market'.
When I arrived I was encouraged to see colleagues from the wider local government family of LGA, IDeA and Audit Commission present. However it was the big beasts from the CBI and their public services group, ACCORD, Keirs, Amey that I eyed nervously as they licked their lips in anticipation of the feast that sat before them in the shape of the local government services market.
To be fair when the event started and the contributions passed I began to realise that they are not really interested in returning to the old adversarial slog of fighting over the bones of individual contracts. They see the market as authorities in their entirety and want to consume them whole.
Actually the oligopoly of organisations that sit at the top end of the local government services market are more interested in developing long term relationships with authorities through helping them with business process re-engineering. They recognise that a number of hurdles exist to this, in terms of finance, fragmentation and flexibility. They also recognized that the private sector need to improve their supply offerings dramatically as they have not evolved since CCT.
It will be interesting to see how this develops in the coming months. As for me I indulged in a bit of lion bating by asking them to share with the group what innovative models they had too tempt local government with and then sneaked out the door as the pride turned on itself.