Unite the union, which represented hundreds of workers affected by Carillion’s collapse, has said the government ‘has lost the plot’ after it announced proposals to require outsourcers to produce a ‘living will’, in case they collapse.

In a major speech yesterday (Monday 19 November) the cabinet office minister David Lidington announced that major government outsourcers will be expected to draw up a ‘living will’, which is expected to set out how contracts can be managed in the event of their corporate failure.

The ‘living will’ proposals are part of the government’s plans to improve how they undertake and manage outsourced contracts. Lidington has admitted that when Carillion collapsed in January this year the government lacked “key organisational information”.

Focus on Insourcing

Rather than improving how outsourcing operates Unite believes that the government should focus on insourcing and bringing contracts back under the control of the public sector.

Outsourcers Capita, Serco and Sopra Steria will be asked by the government to produce living wills in the next few weeks

Unite acting national officer for local authorities Ian Woodland said: “The government has lost the plot by asking outsourcers to produce their own ‘living wills’.

Lost the plot

“Not only does the ‘living will’ proposal show that the government’s outsourcing policies are on life support, but they are once again guilty of abdicating their responsibilities. If a major outsourcer collapses the last people you are going to trust to provide advice on how to maintain a service is the management who ran it into the ground in the first place.

“The idea that Carillion, whose collapse was linked to aggressive accountancy policies and failed to even provide an accurate and accessible list of its directors; should have provided a ‘living will’ to explain how contracts could operate, would be laughable if it was not so serious.

“Rather than tinkering round the edges at the broken outsourcing model the government should be concentrating on bringing services in-house, which is in the best interests of consumers and workers.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Civil Services World: Cabinet Office lacked key information after Carillion collapse. Says Lidington

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.