'Streamlining the Public Sector' is the title of the Guardian Seminar I have been asked to speak at today. They have asked me to speak in a section of the conference billed as a debate on 'insourcing versus outsourcing'.
I am asked to speak first and give my views as to why market failures have demonstrated that the private sector doesn't always deliver effectively in public sector markets. I also give a summary of the recently announced CPA results which shows that local government has improved rapidly between 2002 and 2008. I use APSE's insourcing research to show the benefits of inhouse provision and suggest that an approach built around continuous performance improvement is the only guaranteed way to deliver excellent public services more efficiently. I conclude by pointing to public sector partnerships as a strong option for allowing innovation within such a framework.
Two other speakers then give their viewpoints and we get into a debate with the audience. The audience are broadly supportive of the position I have taken, in my view this is because my case is built on the tangible rather than anecdotal evidence.
Enfield Chief Executive, Rob Leak, then gives a really thought provoking presentation on how Local Government and Public Services in London are looking at joint working. Rob says that it takes five years to get the type of changes they are proposing correct and it's definitely this type of thinking we need if we are going to deal with the issues we are facing at present, as opposed to the knee jerk reactions proposed by some.