The paper considers various forms that outsourcing in the private sector can take. Most of them are geared towards making sure that the consumers are able to get quality services in the most effective ways. They are also geared towards ensuring that governments cut back on their spending, which in the long run will translate to them not raising the tax on unsuspecting consumers. We believe that the present government is not thin king widely enough and thus keeps suffering from shortages and lack of attainment of goals. Nevertheless, there are still solutions available for them.
Outsourcing and the Public Sector
Outsourcing can be termed as the act of giving out certain services so that they are offered by a different entity from the one that was supposed to provide them originally (Earl, 2009). When done in the right manner, outsourcing is often an option for reducing costs because it is often cheaper to seek the services elsewhere than to have them done internally. Outsourcing in the public sector has been in existence since the 18th century, when the governments in the United States and Britain began doing it. In the governmental level, it will often require agreements between two different governments, where one of them is the provider of the service while the other will be the recipient.
There have always been mixed reactions to the art of outsourcing in the public sector. Those who look at it from an economic standpoint will see that it is a way of reducing costs for the government. The other side, however, sees it as a way of taking away the rights of the people of the recipient’s government. This is because when a government outsources to a different government, it is the latter that is able to provide the service, which means that the latter will employ its own citizens while those of the recipient government lose out on those jobs.
a. Catalytic Government
Steering Rather Than Rowing
The usual definition of a catalyst is a person or an object which serves as the stairway to something. It is the one that facilitates or improves the chances of something taking place. This is closely related to the definition of a catalyst government (Kulmala, et al, 2006). This is a government that steps away from what it is traditionally expected to do, which is to provide the services that are needed. This government instead just provided the guidance and advice that is needed for the people to be able to come up with these services on their own. Apart from this, the government may also provide the required resources that will facilitate the process of acquisition of the goods. These can be in the form of grants, vouchers, contracts, et cetera.
For an entity to qualify for, and maybe eventually get a voucher or a grant, it must come up with a project that it intends to fulfill if it manages to get the grant (Lawes, 1994). In this way, finding a project that is likely to be of benefit to them is in a way already starting to get the service on their own without having to wait for the government to give it to them. Once they receive the grant, they are allowed to go ahead with the plan that they had presented. Sometimes they may be asked to account for the resources or money that they were given for the fulfillment of the program. In other cases, there are no follow ups that are done since by that point they have often been assumed to be self-sufficient.
b. Community-Owned Government
Empowering Rather Than Serving
This is a government system that believes that the owners of a problem are the ones who are in the best position to know how the problem can be solved the best way. Therefore, this government does not look for solutions for the community, but will rather provide all the resources that the community will need for it to create a self-sufficient force that will eradicate the problem. These resources can be in form of funds, material, training, et cetera. It also serves to take away any other barriers that may be standing in the way of the ability of the community to depend on itself for success. It also gives the community the mandate to come up with its own programs and to elect the leaders that the community members feel will be best suited to lead them in the right direction.
Through testing, it has been discovered that this kind of approach is not only very effective, but also extremely cheap. This is because, instead of the government dedicating a lot of money for the personnel and all the processes that are needed for installation of a program within community, there is only a small percentage of the money that is need for the purpose of provision of resources and mobilization of the said community.
In this kind of arrangement, the government abandons its traditional role of provision of service and instead takes up that of empowerment.
c. Competitive Government
Injecting Competition into Service Delivery
This is a government that believes that the best way in which service delivery can be made of quality and desired design, there must be competition. In this case, therefore, it takes away any systems that promote monopoly and have various entities compete to provide the service. In this case, competition can be between various groups: public agencies, private agencies, or a competition between private and public entities. When there is a competition, the two competing sides will often be wary of the needs of the market and will strive to find the most effective and quick method through which these demands can be satisfied in order for them to gain the trust to provide it again when the need arises.
This is the point where outsourcing in service delivery comes in. The government is aware that if the current monopoly systems are left in place, they are most likely going to slack in the delivery of service because they are aware that they are the only ones who are expected to deliver the service, and that there is neither competition nor any consequence of providing substantial service (Reka & Zieg, 1995). This government will, therefore, call out for private firms that are able to provide the same service. Vetting is done on them depending on their level of expertise, their expectations of the government and their capability to offer the service. Since most, if not all private sector entities are made for the purpose of profit making, each of them is likely to strive in order to convince the government and the public that they are the ones who are best suited for the position. Once they get in, they will have the intention to stay longer. This is because they are aware that should they fail to deliver, there are several other private companies that are lining up for the same opportunity and thus they will often strive to provide service to the best of their ability.
d. Mission Driven Government
Transforming Rule-Driven Organizations
This is a government system that believes in order for there to be proper delivery of services, the members should hold in high esteem their intent on fulfilling their mission rather than spend a lot on keeping up with the rules (Wisniewski, 1995). The rules in this case will often govern things such as the kind of personnel that should be sort, the amount of money that is to be spent. et cetera. A mission driven government will, therefore, let their employees do all that is within their power, or all that they feel is appropriate and will be sufficient to ensure that the right kind of service is provided. For instance, if a person is to be hired for the fulfillment of certain goals, and the rules require that he has certain qualifications, yet the agency feels that there is someone else that is able to do the work despite not having the laid out qualifications, they will be allowed to bring the latter person on board, as long as he lives up to his role.
e. Results-Oriented Government
Finding Outcomes, Not Inputs
Many governments are often more concerned about the inputs than the outcomes. In order to ensure that the proper kinds of services are delivered to the people, the government should find ways through which the output can be measured. Only if the results are measured, government can know whether it is making progress or not. It should also concern itself with those activities that have a direct impact on the kind of results that it looks forward to having. This can be done through provision of workshops and training for staff members so that they are equipped with techniques that are not relevant to the tasks that they have. The fault that most governments have is concentrating on hiring people who are perceived to have the kind of skill that is being sought after, instead of finding people who are able to work and giving them these skills. As a result, most government employees want to find methods through which they can retain their jobs. They know that all they need is to gain more papers.
f. Customer-Driven Government
Meeting the Needs of the Customer, Not the Bureaucracy
This is a government system that is concerned not only with the general provision of the service, but is making sure that the service provided is to the preference of the consumer. The important reason is that most government are losing the trust of the consumer because they provide standard services and disregard the fact that the needs of the consumer are not only diverse, but change a lot from time to time. Therefore, this government should invent methods through which they are able to know the preferences of the consumer. This can be made possible through opening up channels for receiving feedback from the consumers, such as ombudsman and customer feedback forms.
Another way through which governments can satisfy the needs of the consumers is through giving them the chance to select whom they would like to have the services from. As stated earlier, the needs and preferences of consumers are not the same and thus each of them may need service that is given from a different entity. They should be allowed the opportunity to have it (Elinder & Jordahl, 2013). This has also been found to be quite effective because it prevents the process of service delivery from being corrupted by politics. When the service provider is selected by officials there are greater chances of it being disrupted by those who are chasing to satisfy their own needs and push those of the consumers aside. However, when the consumer is the one who selects, his or her chances of being corrupted are quite minimal because he or she already is conscious of what he or she needs and where it should come from.
V. Reinventing Government
a. Enterprising Government
Earning Rather Than Spending
These are governments that have become aware of the assets they have and have also learnt how these assets can be of direct benefits to them. This is following the constant need for the government to reduce its spending so that the tax it levies on the citizens is also reduced. Some of the ventures that have been taken by the governments are to provide certain additional services but charge the consumers who directly benefit from these services. The service that has been affected using this method the most is garbage collection.
The government may also sometimes collect revenue through giving certain assert of theirs to benefit a separate private entity, but be able to benefit from it. For instance, renting out a certain property or an activity and have the beneficiaries charged for using it.
Profit and revenue minded governments also allow departments to have ventures that enable them to make extra money and then these departments are allowed to keep this money for their own departmental use. This helps in fostering thinking and enterprising minds within the government systems.
b. Anticipatory Government
Prevention Rather Than Cure
These are governments that do not wait for disaster to strike before they start thinking of ways of dealing with them. Instead, they already have systems in place that are ready to deal with any kind of situation. Most departments in the government are currently more concerned with methods through which disasters can be solved, instead of looking for ways through which they can be prevented, when in fact, the cost of the latter is much lower than the former. This can be done through planning ahead whenever the budget or the plan for department is being laid out at the beginning of the year.
Another method through which an anticipatory government can be formed is through the involvement of the citizens, since they are better placed to make decision regarding their well-being and that of the society that they dwell in.
c. Decentralized Government
Leveraging change through the market
Another problem of many government systems is that they lack direction when it comes to how service is supposed to be delivered. For example, instead of concentrating on their policies, most of them often get lost in politics (Chong, et al, 2009). Instead of concentrating on how the consumer can be satisfied, most of them dwell a lot on their own goals as politicians. the government should also be aware that it does not have the capacity to provide the consumer with everything that he wants. Instead, he should concentrate on methods through which the consumer can be empowered for him to be able to access his needs on his own. This can be done by enabling the consumer to have sufficient purchasing power and also have the capability to use it to their won advantage.
VI. Putting It All Together
From the description given above, it is clear that outsourcing in the public sector can take up different forms, all of which are working in deferent ways, yet the end result is almost similar; the government ensuring that the consumer is able to access the best services. They can achieve this through actually giving these services to the consumer, or creating ways that make it easier for the consumer to gain access to these services on their own (Jathanna, 1992). All of these methods are also geared towards reduction of expenditure, owing to the fact that many governments are often struggling with keeping their finances afloat to support their programs.