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Out with the outsourcers?

The recession may derail some cherished government public service reforms

By David Walker   December 2008

What does the financial crash mean for the growing use of the private sector in the delivery of public services? One might assume after recent events that the public sector is looking rather more solid and reliable, and the market rather riskier and more volatile. Indeed, that seems to be the implication behind Peter Mandelson’s apparent conversion to the view that the post office network should be treasured rather than closed down.

Yet the Sunday Times is tipping shares in Serco, the public sector outsourcing group that, among other things, drives prisoners to court. Its half-year results saw a 21…

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