Back in House: Why Local Governments are Bringing Services Home, a new report from the Columbia Institute says that across Canada and around the world public services that were once outsourced are now coming back in-house. The reason for this new trend – using in-house services saves money.
“‘Back in House’ debunks the myth that it’s cheaper to contract out public services in order to save money and produce a better product,” says Charley Beresford, Executive Director of the Columbia Institute. “This report is full of examples that show that the initial expected cost savings and quality improvement though outsourcing aren’t necessarily happening.”
The report looks at 15 examples of Canadian communities that decided to end contracts with private, for-profit companies and instead deliver the service themselves. In over 80 percent of these cases bringing services back in-house saved money.
Other reasons for insourcing include better quality control, flexibility, efficiency in operations, problems with contractors, increased staff capacity, better staff morale, and better support for vulnerable citizens. When services are brought back in-house, local governments re-establish community control of public service delivery.
The report includes four BC examples including cafeteria service in New Westminster, solid waste services in Port Moody, and wastewater and water services in Sooke and Port Hardy.
You can download the report here.