As the public sector shrinks,
government will have to help the private and not-for-profit sectors
play a bigger role in delivering services.
That theme has been encouraged by the Coalition Government, and last week it began to emerge in reaction to the Scottish Budget.
the annual forum of Scottish Business in the Community, Labour’s
finance spokesman David Whitton MSP admitted the future of public
services would be about “team Scotland” (arguably evoking David
Cameron’s “Big Society”), and avowed: “I believe the answer lies in the
public, private and third sectors working together.”
City Council’s chief executive Sue Bruce said the “third sector” should
change its name, as it implied “some sort of hierarchy which I don’t
Ms Bruce said there was
already “a rich seam of collaboration going on between businesses,
community groups and social enterprises in Scotland”. She cited two
recent anonymous donations from Aberdeen philanthropists, one of £1m to a
charity and the other of £5m to a “city development prospect”.
"The private and public sectors need to work together to maintain the present level of high-quality jobs"
Neil Maclean, Capgemini
She said pub entrepreneur Gareth Wood was
supporting a secondary-school research project into local charities, and
that the Prince’s Trust programmes for 16 to 25-year-olds showed what
could be done outside the private sector. She added that the Retail
Rocks initiative had just offered seven derelict shops in Torrey to the
local community, which could be an exciting catalyst for regeneration.
“We are hugely optimistic it will be a success, and these are the kind of examples we need to promote,” Ms Bruce said.
Swinson, chief executive of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition,
said a key way forward was community ownership of assets such as
renewable energy facilities, to generate an income stream.
Telling, of support services group Mitie, commented: “There are going
to be a lot of different models about how we create service delivery
across the private and public sectors.
“There will be shared ownership and a blurring of what it means to be a business.”
said the Government should be doing more to facilitate competition for
public contracts by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and social
Meanwhile, Scotland’s biggest IT outsourcing company, Capgemini Consulting, is promising a major expansion in Scotland.
Maclean, Capgemini’s head of local and devolved government consulting,
told The Herald: “We are working on what we hope will be a
multimillion-pound investment in 2011. This will form an integral part
of our growth plans in Scotland over the next three years as we seek to
double our employee numbers here to at least 1400.”
Maclean admitted that progress had been slower in Scotland than south
of the Border. “What we are finding with the Scottish Government is that
they want to do things themselves, but where we can demonstrate there
are true savings to be made you can have that conversation.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had cited an £800m potential saving from
one unnamed outsourcing initiative, he added. “That is one we are
involved in.” He also said Capgemini had helped one Scottish local
authority “completely change the way they operate as an organisation”
and drive out £10m of costs.
added: “If the pressure is going to be so big, there has to be a new way
of thinking … the private and public sectors need to work together to
maintain the present level of high-quality jobs.”
the high-profile consultancy spends and IT project disasters in various
realms of public life, he commented: “Most people concentrate on the
bad experiences, but the reality is if we do it right and do it in
partnership you generally can save substantial amounts.”
research report for Capgemini published last week found two-thirds of
senior public servants predicted a bigger role for consultants in
government, but that they expected a new reward framework “based on the
successful commercial outcome of the entire venture”.
Maclean said consultants would have to be “willing to be long-term
partners, roll their sleeves up, and take responsibility for working
with organisations to deliver changes”.