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Contracting Out - Interserve quizzed

The Institute for Government think tank has published a report warning that handing so much government business to only a few large strategic suppliers is a risky strategy, considering the three biggest recipients of business - Carillion, Capita and Amey - have experienced financial difficulties. A failure to compile usable data to make better procurement decisions was also criticised.

The study comes as Government officials said new contracts will continue to be awarded to outsourcing firm Interserve, despite its financial struggles. Sources say ministers do not believe the company is “another Carillion”.

Ministers may think that, but workers  and their union Unison are far from sure. Following a near-dispute over changes to the company pension scheme, the union has now written to Interserve asking the company to confirm exactly why it shouldn’t consider them the “next Carillion”. It is still waiting for a reply.