Government's top priority should be outsourcing Whitehall functions, say interim executives
David Woods, May 17, 2010
Interim executives say the top priority for the next Government's campaign to reduce public sector spending should be to outsource more Whitehall functions to the private sector.
According to research by Interim Partners, 1,475 interim executives polled recommended the top priority for the next Government should be outsourcing more Whitehall functions to the private sector (29.7%), reducing headcount by increasing investment in IT (21.0%) and introducing more or tougher targets (20.6%).
The research found that interim executives were split as to whether public sector spending cuts would affect the number of interims used by the public sector. The same proportion of interims (38%) thought that the public sector would use more interims because of the cuts as those who thought that fewer interims would be used.
Almost half (45%) of interim executives expect that the NHS is going to be the biggest user of interims over the next 12 months, followed by Central Government (15%) and Local Government (14%).
And 28% of interims would most like to work in Central Government for their next post, compared to 26% who would like to work in the NHS and only 16% who would like to work in Local Government.
Doug Baird, Managing Director of Interim Partners, said: "Interim executives, collectively, have more first hand experience of dealing with change management or cost cutting programmes than any other group of experts in either the public or private sector.
"However deeply the next Government decides to cut public sector spending, savings need to be balanced against service quality.
"From their hands on experience of implementing cost saving programmes across thousands of public and private sector organisations, interims say that the best way of balancing savings against service is through outsourcing.
"A lot of interims have spent the credit crunch implementing belt-tightening measures for businesses so they are definitely a constituency worth listening to.
"The recent Ian Smith Review suggests relocating 15,000 Whitehall staff from the South-East to streamline costs but only a small minority of interims think this should be the priority in terms of improving public sector efficiency.
"It may be popular amongst the unions to knock consultants and contractors but when it comes down to brass tacks using experienced interims to drive through efficiency measures in an organisation can be very cost effective. This could mean they are more in demand than expected.
"The NHS has been a major user of interims over the last few years who have been brought in to help manage the big reforms that have taken place.
"Both of the main political parties have said they will ring-fence the NHS's budget if elected and interims recognise that there is a lot of work still to be done to complete the NHS's reform."