The Privatization of the UK Government? by Jon Hansen

Posted on June 10, 2013


In the most recent post in the Procurement Insights EU blog, Colin Cram discusses the recent Lord Browne Report on non-executive directors working with the UK government.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, non-executives are drawn from numerous industry sectors (see graphic below) to provide expertise for an annual fee of roughly $23K US.

PI EU Lord Browne Report Graphic

My biggest issue with this cross pollination between private and public sector has been centered on the flawed belief that the New Public Management or NPM mindset from the late 90s is based on the assumption that the private sector is somehow more knowledgeable than the public sector.

Dr. Ronald D. Utt’s assertions regarding the privatization of the GSA in 1995 notwithstanding, the fact is that the only difference between the public and private sector in terms of failed initiatives and missed objectives as one senior VP from P&G once told me, is that when the private sector gets it wrong they are not likely to end up on the from page of the newspaper.

This does not mean that there isn’t value and expertise that cannot be cultivated from the private sector. However, the potential benefits must not be lost in a misguided panacean view of private sector capabilities and past success.

So here is my question to you . . . to what degree can private sector expertise improve public sector procurement?


Posted in: Commentary