Tag Archives: services

Maude: “We want services to be run by mutuals, social enterprises and small businesses”

By David Bicknell

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is to reinforce the message that the government wants its  services to be run and delivered by mutuals, social enterprises and small businesses.

Maude will tell a conference: “In the current climate we can no longer afford waste – demand for services is growing at a time of fiscal constraint.

“But we should not tolerate wasting public money whatever the economic climate. We need to find new ways of delivering public services that are high quality, cost effective and genuinely responsive to the needs of individuals, communities and businesses at local level.

“We believe that nearly all public services can be improved by being delivered by a wide range of organisations. What and how services are delivered are more important than who they are delivered by, and competition breeds innovation and creativity. These in turn will deliver service improvements.

“We want services to be run and delivered by mutuals, social enterprises and small businesses; and we want the talented people who are enthusiastic about what they do to be freed up to deliver services in the way that they think is best.”

Maude’s message comes as most public sector managers say they outsource work to save money, with few believing it leads to improved services.

A survey of 100 human resources directors from government departments, local authorities, NHS trusts and police forces revealed concerns that outsourcing services to private firms would lead to a loss of expertise in the public sector.

The research, by Totaljobs.com, found that almost two-thirds of managers believed outsourcing would cut costs, while only one in four said it would deliver better quality services.

The report will be discussed at the conference aimed at examining the implications on recruitment and skills of Government plans to achieve £40 billion of procurement savings in the next three years

Mike Booker of Totaljobs.com said: “The perception that the skills needed in the public and private sector are somehow different is being swept away by the more pressing need to work together to achieve £40 billion in savings.

“While we’re seeing large numbers of public sector workers looking to migrate to the private sector, it must not be forgotten that essential private sector skills are in high demand in the public sector with our site alone housing 326 postings for public sector procurement professionals.”

Public sector still Cloud-wary but needs dynamic approach to cut costs and keep key services

By David Bicknell

I wasn’t at the Guardian’s SmartGov Live event this week, but what came out of it made for interesting reading.

For example, this article by Gill Hitchcock for the Guardian Professional Network gave an insight into the suspicion and lack of confidence  with which the public sector regards cloud computing.

According to the article, cloud computing is not a certainty to be used by public authorities, because those councils considering adopting it have to take account of the risks involved.

Chris Pope, director of transformation at Merton Council told SmartGov Live that he was “nervous” about adopting cloud computing and being infrastructure free.

“Why? Because I do not trust the supply market yet,” he said. “The number of instances of organisations taking their IT services back in-house, because the service they have got from their supplier has not been up to standard, are too frequent at the moment and there is too much risk at this stage … to be completely infrastructure free.”

Meanwhile, Steve Palmer, the chief information officer and head of ICT at Hillingdon council, was reported as saying that the aim should be to be as infrastructure free as possible.

Palmer,  who is also quoted in the Guardian report, believes the public sector is particularly vulnerable  in finding suppliers with enough capacity and resilience to be able to keep cloud services going during a major failure.

Andy Tait, who until the end of March was deputy director of the G Cloud programme at the Cabinet Office and is now head of public sector strategy for cloud services company VMware, emphasised that cloud is an approach to technology rather than a new technology.

Tait said that the UK public sector was under enormous pressure to cut costs, while maintaining critical frontline services, and IT has a significant role to play in achieving those objectives. “But it can only do that by facing the fundamental transformation to move from the direct and dedicated style of IT infrastructure to a more dynamic and shared common infrastructure that is possible through virtualisation and some cloud technologies,” he said.