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One percent

After 40 years they have suddenly found out that outsourcing is neither cheaper or better

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No shit Sherlock as they say

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/29/bringing-services-back-in-house-is-good-councils

Now all repairs, maintenance and home improvements to the council’s housing stock, as well as public building maintenance, are in-house. 

A report by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) published today, shows that Stoke is far from unusual, with 77% of UK councils planning to bring services back in-house this year. And the report calculates that between 2016 and 2018, at least 220 local government contracts have been brought back into council control.

Outsourcing began under Margaret Thatcher with compulsory competitive tendering back in the 1980s and was embraced wholeheartely by New Labour. Now attitudes seem to be hardening against contracting out. “What we are seeing is a 40-year experiment in public service delivery being put under the microscope,” says Tom Sasse, a senior researcher at the Institute for Government.

A catalogue of failure has shown that private providers have struggled to generate profit and deliver services of the standards that the community expects,” says Paul Evans, director of NHS Support Federation.

“The rise in insourcing shows that commissioners are being forced to recognise this. Not all contracts display problems, but experience now shows that the risk is high.'

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1 minute ago, Frank Hovis said:

They go in, they go out.

I have seen it work brilliantly, I have seen it be an utter shambles.

Councils need to appoint experienced contract managers who will monitor these contracts full time.  If you just sign up and cross your fingers then sooner or later it fails.

The best I saw operating was an outsourced gas servicing programme.  Full time dedicated contract manager who was a right pain to the outsourcing company but that's what you need to do.  100% compliance compared to the previous high nineties and two thirds of the previous cost including the new contract manager's salary.  Big money saved.  No corners cut whatsoever just all the slackness of the council employee and management sliced out of the system.

When you outsource you retain the repsonsibility for the provision of the service and should act accordingly.

I’m always reminded of the Olympic s. They outsourced the security (when there was threats of terrorism) to a private company. They then had to draft the army in to actually do the job. 

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

They go in, they go out.

I have seen it work brilliantly, I have seen it be an utter shambles.

Councils need to appoint experienced contract managers who will monitor these contracts full time.  If you just sign up and cross your fingers then sooner or later it fails.

The best I saw operating was an outsourced gas servicing programme.  Full time dedicated contract manager who was a right pain to the outsourcing company but that's what you need to do.  100% compliance compared to the previous high nineties and two thirds of the previous cost including the new contract manager's salary.  Big money saved.  No corners cut whatsoever just all the slackness of the council employee and management sliced out of the system.

When you outsource you retain the repsonsibility for the provision of the service and should act accordingly.

Nailed on

Outsourcing should be better than in house, but any private contractor will take the piss if allowed to do so just as inhouse employees will also.

Going outside however, you open up to competition to achieve the best price, theoretically.

But a good price and good workmanship will only be acheved if the contract manager 1) is experienced in the work and 2) is interested in safeguarding the public purse, and most are neither. That is a failure of management higher up. Unfortunately, disinterest is rife.

Faced with ignorance, an outside contractor will get away with what they can, and most know what the ceiling is. Now that all work is by large companies I suspect that most contractors will work together to bid for works by fixing the prices to share the projects among themselves.

All it needs is competent project managers.

 

 

 

Edited by Hopeful

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30 minutes ago, Hopeful said:

Nailed on

Outsourcing should be better than in house, but any private contractor will take the piss if allowed to do so just as inhouse employees will also.

Going outside however, you open up to competition to achieve the best price, theoretically.

But a good price and good workmanship will only be acheved if the contract manager 1) is experienced in the work and 2) is interested in safeguarding the public purse, and most are neither. That is a failure of management higher up. Unfortunately, disinterest is rife.

Faced with ignorance, an outside contractor will get away with what they can, and most know what the ceiling is. Now that all work is by large companies I suspect that most contractors will work together to bid for works by fixing the prices to share the projects among themselves.

All it needs is competent project managers.

 

 

 

Done my apprenticeship with a Norwich painting firm in the early ninties doing council contracts,

 It was pretty cut throat and was really piss poor work,, so manty firms where desperate for the work as the recession kicked in

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10 minutes ago, ninjaborrower said:

Done my apprenticeship with a Norwich painting firm in the early ninties doing council contracts,

 It was pretty cut throat and was really piss poor work,, so manty firms where desperate for the work as the recession kicked in

Money has been splashed around recently. It is drying up though. I'm sure cut throat times will come again, by which time it will work will be back in house. By the time councils wake up to there being better value outside, and start outsourcing again, the good times will have returned and piss taking will be rife again. Rince and repeat probably

The phenomenon of the macroeconomic 'policy lag" where it takes a while before a problem is "observed". It then takes a while for policy makers to introduce new policies to address the problem. Finally, once a new policy is implemented it takes time before it works.  And then the situation may have changed in the meantime.

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

I have seen it work brilliantly, I have seen it be an utter shambles.


Oldham set up Unity partnership with Kier. And recently bought kier out. 
And unity are the bit that hold everything up. massively. 

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

They go in, they go out.

I have seen it work brilliantly, I have seen it be an utter shambles.

Councils need to appoint experienced contract managers who will monitor these contracts full time.  If you just sign up and cross your fingers then sooner or later it fails.

The best I saw operating was an outsourced gas servicing programme.  Full time dedicated contract manager who was a right pain to the outsourcing company but that's what you need to do.  100% compliance compared to the previous high nineties and two thirds of the previous cost including the new contract manager's salary.  Big money saved.  No corners cut whatsoever just all the slackness of the council employee and management sliced out of the system.

When you outsource you retain the repsonsibility for the provision of the service and should act accordingly.

I bet that guy wasn't get getting paid commensurate to results either.

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Project manager (or Site Manager)...one job I would never want. Recipe for a heart attack by your 50s. I have to coordinate projects/CAPEX spends within my own set-up and that is quite enough,  just getting contractors to site is like herding cats. Getting a company to even quote is an achievement. The old "3 quotes to compare" is all well and good but you might have to spend several weeks in time and contacting up to a dozen companies to get to that number. It is why when you find a good contractor you literally pay them whatever they want, zero quibble. The lack of hassle is a price worth paying. It is such a hard game overall as value vs cost is something that may only show itself over a long period. Given most people are KPI'd to f**k these days (most of which are probably damaging) project managers are likely given the thankless task of driving down cost on the job with the inevitable corner cutting that results (so long as the s**tstorm fall on someone elses' watch, who gives a f**k?).

 

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Posted (edited)

AMT Sybex employed a load of software folk in Belfast until recently - bloke I know did many years with them - and then outsourced all their software development (india or china can't remember where) recently.

I was very surprised as I thought the 'outsource software dev to india' had been shown to be a bad idea. I think AMT were bought by Capita if I remember correctly so maybe Capita have access to top notch developers in India I dunno.

Edited by JoeDavola

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2 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

AMT Sybex employed a load of software folk in Belfast until recently - bloke I know did many years with them - and then outsourced all their software development (india or china can't remember where) recently.

I was very surprised as I thought the 'outsource software dev to india' had been shown to be a bad idea. I think AMT were bought by Capita if I remember correctly so maybe Capita have access to top notch developers in India I dunno.

They don’t call them crapita in private eye for nothing. ;)

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1 minute ago, JoeDavola said:

AMT Sybex employed a load of software folk in Belfast until recently - bloke I know did many years with them - and then outsourced all their software development (india or china can't remember where) recently.

I was very surprised as I thought the 'outsource software dev to india' had been shown to be a bad idea. I think AMT were bought by Capita if I remember correctly so maybe Capita have access to top notch developers in India I dunno.

These things go in cycles. A large customer of mine follows the six sigma religion. Some clueless black belt jumps on a project and concludes there would be a saving of x% if they outsourced their haulage. Person leaves. The next one comes in and conclues there would be a saving of y% if they brought their haulage back inhouse. Company claims a cumulative six sigma saving from both activities where the second reverses the 1st. This is one of numerous examples that actually happened too. Probably some clueless consultant driving it and getting paid a wedge.

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42 minutes ago, Hopeful said:

Money has been splashed around recently. It is drying up though. I'm sure cut throat times will come again, by which time it will work will be back in house. By the time councils wake up to there being better value outside, and start outsourcing again, the good times will have returned and piss taking will be rife again. Rince and repeat probably

The phenomenon of the macroeconomic 'policy lag" where it takes a while before a problem is "observed". It then takes a while for policy makers to introduce new policies to address the problem. Finally, once a new policy is implemented it takes time before it works.  And then the situation may have changed in the meantime.

The odd thing was the council was sub contracting the work out,, and half the painters where sub contracters on the firm!

 The firm was notorious for getting council contract and it started showing why with the pricers we where getting for the work,

 I was well out off it when Gordon started juicing it more with new labour,,and like you say, hard times are coming again 

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I worked for a company that had to oversee a service that had been effectively privatised by the Government. I had my 3 month probationary period extended and I was quite clearly given the message to turn a blind eye to the many many defects I was finding with the contractor. 

I think the main issue with quality is the people and not if its privatised or not. We've all worked with people with a "computer says no" attitude.

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1 hour ago, One percent said:

They don’t call them crapita in private eye for nothing. ;)

Drove past some project yesterday in Southampton with a big 'in conjunction with Capita' sign.

Youngest flightlet looked up from his phone and said 'well that's that bollocksed then'

 

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3 minutes ago, Wight Flight said:

Drove past some project yesterday in Southampton with a big 'in conjunction with Capita' sign.

Youngest flightlet looked up from his phone and said 'well that's that bollocksed then'

 

You have trained him well 

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I remember working for a lefty council who decided to bring in contract recruitment specialists as us middle managers were hopeless at it especially when it came to getting temporary staff. 

I needed 2 EHO's for maternity cover so quietly got a price from the established agencies. 

Task then handed to our hard nosed, deal cracking, recruitment specialists who came back with the same price - plus 10% ie their mark up. 

 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I worked for a company that had to oversee a service that had been effectively privatised by the Government. I had my 3 month probationary period extended and I was quite clearly given the message to turn a blind eye to the many many defects I was finding with the contractor. 

I think the main issue with quality is the people and not if its privatised or not. We've all worked with people with a "computer says no" attitude.

It’s 25 years ago now since I worked in a local bank branch plus done an area job for a while in my latter years.

I became despondent when people who I’d have deemed eligible and trustworthy to repay a loan on my decision had to get a no because the computer said no. Around that time I had to stand in the public area in a branded T-shirt encouraging 100 sign ups to a credit card + free watch. I succeeded in reaching the target but had a heavy heart knowing the majority of signees would end up as bad debts. Took my redundancy while pregnant as I couldn’t hack it any more!

Edited by Van Lady

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The local council here set up a direct works department. It was disbanded a couple of years later and the work put out to tender. Apparently once they added the indirect overheads to the department it showed a large loss.

Nothing more than accountancy mixed up with politics to give the numbers wanted. Probably as @SillyBilly says a consultant getting the council a saving by setting up a direct works department to save money and then outsourcing it to save money.

Its the same nonsense as the NHS employing bank staff through external agencies to employ NHS nurses in their spare time. What a fucking nonsense.

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4 minutes ago, Van Lady said:

It’s 25 years ago now since I worked in a local bank branch plus done an area job for a while in my latter years.

I became despondent when people who I’d have deemed eligible and trustworthy to repay a loan on my decision had to get a no because the computer said no. Around that time I had to stand in the public area in a branded T-shirt encouraging 100 sign ups to a credit card + free watch. I succeeded in reaching the target but had a heavy heart knowing the majority of signees would end up as bad debts. Took my redundancy while pregnant as I couldn’t hack it any more!

One of the mums from school works for a bank. Was talking to her on our commute a couple of years ago and she absolutely hates it. Her view of her job is to serve and help people. The management view is that she has to sell ‘products ‘. There are targets. 

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3 hours ago, One percent said:

No shit Sherlock as they say

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/29/bringing-services-back-in-house-is-good-councils

Now all repairs, maintenance and home improvements to the council’s housing stock, as well as public building maintenance, are in-house. 

A report by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) published today, shows that Stoke is far from unusual, with 77% of UK councils planning to bring services back in-house this year. And the report calculates that between 2016 and 2018, at least 220 local government contracts have been brought back into council control.

Outsourcing began under Margaret Thatcher with compulsory competitive tendering back in the 1980s and was embraced wholeheartely by New Labour. Now attitudes seem to be hardening against contracting out. “What we are seeing is a 40-year experiment in public service delivery being put under the microscope,” says Tom Sasse, a senior researcher at the Institute for Government.

A catalogue of failure has shown that private providers have struggled to generate profit and deliver services of the standards that the community expects,” says Paul Evans, director of NHS Support Federation.

“The rise in insourcing shows that commissioners are being forced to recognise this. Not all contracts display problems, but experience now shows that the risk is high.'

Ah yes. Fatchers fault.

Competitive tendering was a means of getting councils to put eork down as cost before going down the route of spending millions doing something a private company coukd have done for a few 100k.

This was followed by PFI which was simed st getting small contrsctors doing small projects. Brown took pfi and turned it into a monster as a means of hiding government spend.

Mr Saasse is a lying cunt. The splurge of disasters was from 99ish when Brown ramped up.

Councils need to be transparent about costs. And the includes pension cost which are 30% more expensive than they claim.

Any everyday core work should not be contracted out. If a council cannot do that, on budget, without half the workforce pissing off on 'long term' sickness, then the council needs sacking.

Simple change for public sector is -

-Max 7 days paid. No more tgan 30 in a 5 year period. Serious illness dr note excepted.

- No unfunded pension. DC with LA top up.

 

 

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1 minute ago, spygirl said:

Ah yes. Fatchers fault.

Competitive tendering was a means of getting councils to put eork down as cost before going down the route of spending millions doing something a private company coukd have done for a few 100k.

This was followed by PFI which was simed st getting small contrsctors doing small projects. Brown took pfi and turned it into a monster as a means of hiding government spend.

Mr Saasse is a lying cunt. The splurge of disasters was from 99ish when Brown ramped up.

Councils need to be transparent about costs. And the includes pension cost which are 30% more expensive than they claim.

Any everyday core work should not be contracted out. If a council cannot do that, on budget, without half the workforce pissing off on 'long term' sickness, then the council needs sacking.

Simple change for public sector is -

-Max 7 days paid. No more tgan 30 in a 5 year period. Serious illness dr note excepted.

- No unfunded pension. DC with LA top up.

 

 

Agree. I lay our current ills firmly at thatchers door. 

Outsourcing has been the biggest fuck up waste of money. It was clear that this would be the end result. I guess though it boils down to whether you believe in the altruistic nature of the public sector. 20 years ago, I believe it was altruistic. Now, I guess anyone who works in the public sector thinks, if you can’t beat them join them. 

Oh, and they have stuffed it full of the hard of thinking. Doesn’t help. 

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3 minutes ago, One percent said:

One of the mums from school works for a bank. Was talking to her on our commute a couple of years ago and she absolutely hates it. Her view of her job is to serve and help people. The management view is that she has to sell ‘products ‘. There are targets. 

Yes, the targets and selling had started when I was there over 25 years.

I recall a talk to staff from the manager about how everything was going to be different....selling. All staff were disgruntled because they thought they provided a helpful service to customers.

In hindsight that was the start of thatcher/raegan policy to open markets, create competition and sell to consumers.

All my colleagues left the local branch years ago and were replaced by cheaper staff with most stuff centralised. The branch closed last year along with all except one in Dumfries & Galloway. 

A lovely listed building on my high street and it is in the process of becoming a drop in centre for the various long term town scroungers who need a decent meal/support etc due to whining and neediness.

 

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1 minute ago, Van Lady said:

Yes, the targets and selling had started when I was there over 25 years.

I recall a talk to staff from the manager about how everything was going to be different....selling. All staff were disgruntled because they thought they provided a helpful service to customers.

In hindsight that was the start of thatcher/raegan policy to open markets, create competition and sell to consumers.

All my colleagues left the local branch years ago and were replaced by cheaper staff with most stuff centralised. The branch closed last year along with all except one in Dumfries & Galloway. 

A lovely listed building on my high street and it is in the process of becoming a drop in centre for the various long term town scroungers who need a decent meal/support etc due to whining and neediness.

 

Good point about changing from seeing people as consumers as opposed to customers. My local branch have stopped trying to sell anything to me as before they have finished the first sentence of their spiel, I’m saying very politely, no thank you.  In fact, the minute anyone tries to sell me anything, I just say no. Don’t trust them as it is in their interest and not mine.  

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