WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
July 13 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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New report reveals the true cost of outsourcing justice

New report reveals the true cost of outsourcing justice

The practice of outsourcing public services saves money at the cost of justice according to new research by the law reform and human rights organisation, JUSTICE.

Their report states that people’s rights are breached by the government outsourcing public services, and that this practice has led to ‘high profile scandals, widespread service failures and serious human rights abuses’, such as failures at the Brooke House immigration detention centre.

The government increasingly uses the private sector to deliver public services. At present, approximately £300 billion of annual public spending is on services outside government. Outsourcing public services is often promoted by governments of different political parties on the basis that ‘choice and competition’ can ‘reduce costs and raise quality by improving efficiency.’ Yet this cannot be done at the expense of justice and without regard to the public authority’s ongoing legal obligations. 

JUSTICE say this practice has failed to protect the rights of individuals as can be seen through high profile scandals such as the Post Office scandal, underpinned by the privately provided Horizon IT system. 

This report includes new evidence that one private provider is doing vulnerability assessments of homeless people for £40, without ever meeting the individual in question.

Ultimately the report calls for a move away from a ‘hands-off’ approach by public authorities, towards more collaborative practices designed to better uphold the rights of individuals and fulfil the government’s legal duties.

Stephanie Needleman, Legal Director of JUSTICE, said: ‘JUSTICE has, for many years now, been concerned about the lack of accountability when public services are outsourced to private bodies. The many examples in this report, from the Brook House scandal to local authority homelessness assessments taking place without even speaking to the individual, show the desperate need for change.’

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