Programme Updates

The Future of Public/Private Partnerships… or How to build Mutual Trust between Business and Government

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A 2020 Jericho programme

Government outsourcing is at a crossroads. Central and local government spend tens of billions of pounds a year on services delivered by external suppliers. This is a process that began in earnest during the Thatcher years and continued into the ‘90s and Noughties. A string of high-profile failures – from Carillion to the East Coast Mainline – has put the model under intense scrutiny, despite many areas of outsourcing that have delivered substantial benefits to all stakeholders.

In a 2019 report, the Institute for Government concluded: “Government must outsource for the right reasons – where private providers benefit from expertise, economies of scale or new technologies that enable them to deliver services better or more cheaply, or where competition can improve performance. They should not outsource where there is no reason to think it will work, as with probation, or in pursuit of unrealistic cost savings. They must develop better evidence to inform these decisions”.

The Investigation

Is it time to remove ideology from the debate and concentrate on hard, empirical evidence by looking at what has worked and what hasn’t. And why.

The debate crucially connects to why is business trusted to such a small extent at the moment? What is the current government’s genuine sentiment towards business? Why do so many people believe that government – both central and local – would make a better job of running things than people in commerce? Is it immoral for private business, for example,  to make money from prisons – the Howard League believes so – even if they do a better job than the Prison Officer’s Association? Would Labour under Jeremy Corbyn have had every hospital re-open its own laundry? How can we solve the much-vaunted housing crisis without better co-operation between enterprise and state?

These and other questions lie at the heart of a new programme Jericho is launching, looking at the future relationship between Business and Government and scrutinising Public-Private Partnerships in the 2020s. Further context is provided by a country grappling with ever more technological and human needs – from building a 5G network, to running the NHS and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The Ask

We are looking for seed funding from an initial sponsor to support the early-stage development of the programme in Q2 2020.

Subject to confirmation, this will comprise a Think Piece to set the framework for discussion; an initial podcast featuring key industry, political and commentary figures; and an 18-20 person roundtable and report for circulation and stimulus for a nascent community of influence. The podcast and roundtable will discuss the set of challenges and required policy and societal changes, around which future work and activities – and a wider programme – might be built.

Content will be developed and produced by Matthew Gwyther, former Editor, Management Today and presenter, In Business, BBC Radio 4. An opportunity exists to conduct bespoke research on this subject, under the guidance of Jericho Research Director, Andrew Gunn.

The Benefits

  • Leadership positioning on a key societal issue of great political, business and media interest and concern; outside of existing contracts and programmes
  • Range of content – designed for wider circulation – to elevate the sponsor’s positioning and thinking
  • A nascent community of influence and engagement, built peer-to-peer and independently convened
  • A framework for future work and leadership in this space
  • Access to the wider Jericho influencer network, and participation in a range of associated events and activities.

Examples of similar programmes and the communities convened can be found here:

  • Frameworks to Build a Better Britain: Jericho’s work with BRE Group; a year-long national listening exercise, culminating in a series of policy recommendations for local and national government on the Built Environment.
  • Jericho’s work with Go-Ahead Group PLC which culminated in the publication Moving the City for Good
  • The global Responsible Tax project, curated on behalf of KPMG.

For more information, or to register your interest in either sponsoring or contributing to this exciting and important programme, please contact Jericho Founder, Robert Phillips, or Programme Director, Becky Holloway.


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