CBI suggests outsourcing facilities management in schools

September 24th, 2012 Category: Educational Establishments

Many public services are feeling the squeeze right now, with everything from hospitals to the police having to tighten their belts.

Of course, the government has been keen to stress the quality of the service does not have to decline as a result. Indeed, policymakers have argued that the public sector has been bloated and wasteful for some time, so the cuts have helped to weed out unnecessary spending and ensure money is used more efficiently than ever before.

Public service providers have therefore had to adopt new ways of doing things, embracing innovative ideas to make the most of limited resources.

Outsourcing certain roles and responsibilities to third party providers has been one option that many have embraced – and business group the CBI believes it is one worth looking at.

The body believes schools in particular could benefit, as more than £200 million could be saved from their budgets if they opened up facilities management to external providers.

By bringing in specialist cleaning expertise from outside, schools can instead concentrate on their core responsibilities and provide a first-class learning experience to their pupils.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI, commented: "Our public services are under pressure as never before, with increasing customer demand and an urgent need to manage costs.

"Carrying on regardless would be a recipe for disaster. The government needs to face this tough policy challenge head on."

Mr Cridland said opening up public services that are "largely state monopolised" at the moment to competition could save billions of pounds and maintain quality at the same time.

The CBI added that a recent poll it commissioned demonstrates the public are behind the idea of opening up public services to the private sector.

Figures from ComRes showed nearly two-thirds believe diversifying service provision would help taxpayers save money. Meanwhile, three-quarters said they believe different providers would be better able to come up with innovative ways of operating services than one single organisation.