The future delivery of public services

Interesting to hear the government lay down the gauntlet to facilities management service providers on Monday at the annual Business Services Association lecture. Francis Maude MP, minister for the Cabinet Office, warned them that large businesses might no longer be the chosen way forward for government outsourcing. To improve the value proposition for the delivery of public services, he wants small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), together with charities, voluntary organisations, employee mutuals and civil societies to get a slice of the government’s procurement cake.

But the government can’t have its cake and eat it. SMEs and others will only be keen to get involved when the procurement process is less needlessly bureaucratic, doesn’t cost so much (Maude himself recognised that it costs four times as much to bid for public sector contracts as it does for those in the private sector) and doesn’t take so long.

Yes the government have taken measures to make it easier for SMEs to get involved but the reality is still that only the big businesses have the resources to bid for the big deals. Maude urged the big outsources to tell him personally (though he didn’t give us his direct line) if the procurement process remained exasperating and impenetrable despite these measures. Trouble is, most FM service providers might be too knee-deep in bid preparations to drop him a line.

Read the full event report at


Cathy Hayward
Cathy Hayward