£88 billion has been spent on outsourcing in the UK since 2010. That's nearly double what was spent in the last four years of the previous government, and the public sector is outsourcing at twice the rate of the private sector. The big winners have been Capita and the usual suspects, but little of this boom seems to have touched A4e.
The project has enable the government to claim spurious private-sector job creation, as workers are switched from one to the other, with fewer jobs remaining at the end of it. It also enables Cameron to claim that he is fulfilling his pledge to "release the grip of state control", though this begs the question of exactly who is in control. Time and again we see how poor the procurement process is; how promises made on tender documents are pure fiction, but there is no come-back for the taxpayer. There's an excellent analysis of the Work Programme figures in the New Statesman. The providers are spending nothing like the amount per client that they promised, yet still they get their incentive bonus.
There is evidence that some services outsourced by local authorities are being brought back in house, and we've seen that happen in the past. But there comes a point where there's no "in house" left; no council or government structure to administer the service. It was a creeping privatisation under Labour. It's galloping under this government, with little notice being taken by commentators of where we're going.
For a little light relief, we're told that a cabinet reshuffle is on the cards for next Monday. It's suggested in the Telegraph that there are rumours of a straight job swap between Iain Duncan Smith and the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. The mind boggles.