Outsourcing is no money-saver - Siptu

Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 01:00

PUBLIC SERVICES:THE Republic’s largest trade union has said that outsourcing of public services will not lead to any considerable savings and are more likely to result in higher costs to the exchequer.

Siptu vice-president Patricia King said the union expected the Government to honour the provisions in the Croke Park agreement in relation to outsourcing.

The Irish Times reported yesterday that the Cabinet had ordered Government departments to look at the costs and benefits of outsourcing all proposed new services.

The Government is to decide in February which specific public services should be provided in future by the private sector. It will consider business cases for outsourcing arising from a review which is being carried out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Sources said the department was to develop a shortlist of potential services “where testing for outsourcing or external delivery will be prioritised”.

The Government has also decided the four main areas of the public service – health, education, justice and local authorities – that should draw up and implement their own plans for the outsourcing of services.

Ms King said under the Croke Park agreement management was required to use direct labour “to the greatest extent possible”.

She said current assessments of outsourcing in the health service, in particular, indicated there were no real savings to be found by sub-contracting cleaning, catering and other services.

“Siptu has carried out its own review of outsourcing in the health service which has found that there are no real savings to be found. Indeed, in some cases outsourcing cost more than providing services through direct labour,” Ms King said.

“Furthermore, while private employers can make a profit from providing these services, workers inevitably endure poorer wages and conditions than if employed directly.”