I’m not going to get political in this post but I felt myself getting quite political in conversations with friends about a recent dispatches programme which investigated whether the beneficiaries of the government’s cuts are in fact private outsourcing companies.
One thing that struck me is can “Open and Transparent” government be achievable if we are not actually directly providing services and the interests of local people are actually being balanced against profit….Speaking to friends and colleagues I know it IS possible but it will require a huge mindshift in thinking and new skills around strategic commissioning and monitoring…..The challenge around this from the dispatches programme is that information that we would currently be expected to publish could in most cases be considered “commercial and sensitive”….Not sure how FOI and the information commissioner would see that.
To maintain the Open and Transparent agenda, it will require local government collectively to maintain the accountability regardless of who provides services on the ground, after all in a lot of service areas we are already doing this, but the pace and rate of change might mean some details are missed…I’m not saying they have or will but we need to maintain the quality assurance role throughout this whole process.
I do have personal views as to which model of delivery is best and whether local and community based organisations or private and commercial organisations which actually deliver value. I’m not prepared to share those views here. But I’m sure those who read the blog often will get a good feeling for my preference…