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Outsourcing to private sector should be next Governments priority

Outsourcing to private sector should be next Governments priority for Whitehall reform, say top managers
 
Election over so hard work on reigning in public deficit must begin
Experts in implementing efficiencies identify most effective measures
 
Interim executives say the top priority for the next Governments campaign to reduce public sector spending should be to outsource more Whitehall functions to the private sector, reveals research by Interim Partners, the Harrogate-based provider of interim management solutions.
 
Interim executives are senior executives at or just below board level who are recruited on a short-term basis. As they work on a contract basis interims have an unusually broad experience of dealing with organisational change.
 
Says Doug Baird, Managing Director of Interim Partners: Interim executives, collectively, have more first hand experience of dealing with change management or cost cutting programmes than any other group of experts in either the public or private sector.
 
The 1,475 interim executives polled recommended that the top priority for the next Government should be:
Outsource more Whitehall functions to the private sector (29.7%)
Reduce headcount by increasing investment in IT (21.0%)
Introduce more or tougher targets (20.6%) (full results below)
 
Adds Doug Baird: However deeply the next Government decides to cut public sector spending, savings need to be balanced against service quality.
 
From their hands on experience of implementing cost saving programmes across thousands of public and private sector organisations, interims say that the best way of balancing savings against service is through outsourcing.
 
A lot of interims have spent the credit crunch implementing belt-tightening measures for businesses so they are definitely a constituency worth listening to.
 
The research reveals that despite increasing momentum for Whitehall functions to be relocated outside London, interims thought that this was only the fifth most important priority for the next Government. 
 
Doug Baird adds: The recent Ian Smith Review suggests relocating 15,000 Whitehall staff from the South-East to streamline costs but only a small minority of interims think this should be the priority in terms of improving public sector efficiency.
 
Interims split on demand for their services
Interim Partners research found that interim executives were split as to whether public sector spending cuts would affect the number of interims used by the public sector.  The same proportion of interims (38%) thought that the public sector would use more interims because of the cuts as those who thought that fewer interims would be used.
 
Doug Baird comments: It may be popular amongst the unions to knock consultants and contractors but when it comes down to brass tacks using experienced interims to drive through efficiency measures in an organisation can be very cost effective. This could mean they are more in demand than expected.
 
NHS expected to be major user of interims
45% of interim executives expect that the NHS is going to be the biggest user of interims over the next 12 months, followed by Central Government (15%) and Local Government (14%).
 
Doug Baird comments: The NHS has been a major user of interims over the last few years who have been brought in to help manage the big reforms that have taken place.
 
Both of the main political parties have said they will ring-fence the NHSs budget if elected and interims recognise that there is a lot of work still to be done to complete the NHSs reform.
 
28% of interims would most like to work in Central Government for their next post, compared to 26% who would like to work in the NHS and only 16% who would like to work in Local Government.

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