Contracting-out government services is a topic that stays in the news.
Units of local, state and the federal government usually are prompted to consider a contracting-out strategy as a means to save money. It’s not unusual for such plans to be challenged by government workers, labor unions, and even taxpayers who think that good paying jobs will be eliminated and savings really won’t be realized.
But what about when a service is outsourced to the private sector. Is it given the oversight and analysis that its should be afforded? More directly, how carefully are contractors being watched?
Now, a non-profit organization devoted to the study of privatization and responsible contracting called In the Public Interest, has published a comprehensive report entitled, “Standing Guard: How Unaccountable Contracting Fails Governments and Taxpayers.”
The report makes the point that when local and state governments contract-out critical public services that are crucial to the well-being of the community, the need for robust contract oversight is pressing. However, research and the experiences of cities and states across the county show that too often contract oversight is lax.
Oversight is important so that government can hold contractors accountable for their performance, and ensure that the public receives quality services at a reasonable cost. Proper oversight can protect public health and safety. Strong oversight allows governments to catch waste, fraud, and abuse in real time instead of long after the fact, and correct mistakes before they result in serious harm.
To download and read the complete report, click here: http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/sites/default/files/Standing%20Guard.pdf