Wednesday, 4 February 2009

‘Insourcing’: how could they?

Strong repost to public-sector kite-flying

On Friday last Conductive World reported a nifty PR exercise advocating that services contracted-out to the charitable sector should be ‘insourced’ back under public-sector control.

How to judge such a canard? Hard to tell. It probably wouldn’t had been raised at all if there were not a wind sensed to carry it up. And perhaps the agitation made might have done something to whistle that wind up a little more..

But is the idea really a runner?

People in the United Kingdom likely to be affected by this position (and that includes a few CE services) might appreciate a strong response made by Craig Dearden-Phillips, founder and chief executive of Speaking Up, a mental health and learning disabilities charity.

His whole article is well worth reading by everyone in the front line of this struggle, and not just in the United Kingdom. He makes some telling points, all of them immediately recognisable to those who work with physically disabled children and adults, and their families. Here’s just one of them, his concluding shot:

…although there is a bit of froth right now about the ‘new age for public services', the truth is that the country can't afford them. After the election, whoever wins will have to put up taxes and reduce public spending. To keep the British public on side, there will need to be proper reform of public services - and continued, massive outsourcing.

Either way, though, there’s going to be damn hard and long fight over resources. for every one, whatever happens. We’d better get used to that idea.


Dearden-Phillips, C. (2009) Why 'insourcing' is not the answer, Third Sector Online, 4 February

Sutton, A. (2009) Dog-eat-dog time already? So much for partnership, Conductive World, 30 January


  1. I tried the Third Sector link and found an apology that their servers were down due to excessive load.

    I'd like to think that this was caused by people trying to access the article, outraged by the original in-sourcing article.

    I'd even like to think it was caused by Andrew's alert to us all!

  2. Localis Research, a Conservative Party group, has produced a set of papers called "Big Ideas". One is an article "The 21st Century LEA" by Sam Freedman. If his ideas are applied to the whole LA, here is a very large challenge to the "in-Sourcing" approach.

    "Big Ideas" can be downloaded at