The Delivery of Public Services after Carillion and Coronavirus

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If we cast our minds back 5 years ago, the contractual scene was quite different. If public services had been outsourced, these were generally delivered by conglomerates that had started in one industry before expanding to new areas often ranging from the provision of financial services to school meals and everything in between. The private sector brought scale and commercial acumen to the table although often specific knowledge in relation to the services, working in a politic context and specific local knowledge remained in the public sector. There was a growing disquiet in the public sector about the shortcomings of this approach, particularly as the promises made by bid teams did not always materialise.

Then Carillion went bust. Long-term outsourced contracts were no longer seen as a safe option that protected the public authority. Instead they were viewed as putting all  eggs in one basket and with it all risk. Large scale projects fell out of favour.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, public authorities have responded to requests from their suppliers in relation to temporary service variations that were necessary to keep things ticking along. Once the lockdown is eased, there will be a need to take stock. This will provide an opportunity to consider whether in future a new delivery model might better serve both the public and private sectors – one that makes good use of the expertise that exists in the public sector but which also encompasses the commerciality and scale that the private sector can provide.

Now might the time for a new delivery model. We are going to be giving ideas about this thought over the coming weeks. We anticipate facilitating workshops and seminars to consider what the optimum objectives of such a model would be and what things we would need to look out for. The possibilities are exciting! If you would like to contribute, I would like to hear your views. Please email me at

This article is for general awareness only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Law and guidance relating to the COVID19 pandemic is continually being updated and the law may have changed since this page was first published. If you would like further advice and assistance in relation to any issues raised, please contact us today by telephone or email

Posted in Coronavirus (COVID-19), Timothy Farr.