The Future of Outsourcing

The MCA Think Tank’s report, The Future of Outsourcing, has just been published and is now available as a free download from the MCA website. Many thanks to all those senior consultants who contributed ideas, case studies and argument to this report. It is now being widely circulated to clients, policy-makers and analysts. We hope it will elevate the debate about the role of outsourcing and open up many of the benefits as well as the challenges. As the sub-title says: “Towards an ethical, accountable, transformational and outcome-focused industry.”

More than thirty years on, we should have come to terms with outsourcing in the public sector. It has a good track record, delivering both savings and service improvements. In many other economies it is simply taken for granted.

But still there is controversy in the UK, particularly during an era of austerity in public spending.

This report from the MCA Think Tank explores and illuminates the many issues surrounding the topic. It debunks a lot of myths – about outsourcing being a Trojan horse for privatisation, for instance. And it confronts those who argue that it is wrong – even unethical – for any private sector organisation to make a profit by providing public services. If the public benefits, why not?

But there are also some important messages for the outsourcing industry itself and, indeed, for the public sector organisations that contract with them. The report argues that new thinking is needed for new challenges in public services. ‘Business as usual’ outsourcing no longer will suffice. As the authors put it: “Transformational outsourcing must become the norm”.

In a wide-ranging set of recommendations, the Think Tank has suggestions for all parties in the outsourcing chain, including management consulting firms who often provide essential advice and support. This is a comprehensive and thought-provoking survey.