Tag: Reason Foundation
The issue of how liability is addressed in an outsourcing agreement is very real. The ultimate goal of any outsourcing arrangement is mutual satisfaction. The outsourcing entity hopes to acquire a higher level of performance in a particular aspect of its business that was not attainable in the past and be cost effective while doing so. The outsourcer leverages its expertise and economies of scale in the hopes of meeting the client’s expectationss and making a profit in the process. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Few assets owned and maintained by the government illicit as much passion from taxpayers as the condition of paved roads. But even as the need for more and wider thoroughfares goes largely ignored due to shrinking budgets and changing political climates, state and local governments across the nation also are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain preexisting transportation infrastructure. And it doesn’t stop there. The management of buildings, building-maintenance equipment, real estate, vehicles, office equipment, etc., is becoming a burden governments are discovering is more than they can bear. As a remedy, many are turning to asset management outsourcing.
For government agencies across the United States, the ability to deliver services to their citizenry is being sorely taxed (no pun intended). Budgets are being strained beyond limit. Quality — and quantity — of services is deteriorating. And the varieties of the prevailing political climate can wreak havoc on long-range planning and consistent and coordinated operational systems. Add to this the fact that many government agencies’ entire existing infrastructure for delivering services is suffering from such maladies as outdated technology, a stagnant work force and the typical bureaucratic red tape that is government’s calling card, and you have a recipe for guaranteed underachievement.
Trust plays a crucial role in government outsourcing. Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation says that the less tangible things are, the more important trust is. In outsourced infrastructure projects, trust is less important. A project to construct a bridge, for example, is tangible in that you test to establish whether it was built soundly. But in a contract for such services as child adoption placement, managing a prison or welfare benefits, the outcomes are open-ended. Much of what the government wants to happen is well defined and measurable, but a lot of it is not. That type of circumstance will require trusting the vendor a great deal…
Prisons are one of the most difficult areas to privatize and do it well and safely, says Adrian Moore, of the Reason Foundation. While the task of taking away an offender’s liberty rightly belongs to the government’s judges and juries, the task of making sure prisoners remain in cells and behave for set periods of time is not something that only a government can do. There is no reason why prisons should not be privatized . . . as long as there is accountability…..(outsourcing)
If you don’t know whether your local city, county or state governments spend more than they take in, or whether they are able to pay the costs to maintain their assets, you’re not alone. Most people can’t figure out how to read governmental financial statements. The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has been pushing for reform and has issued GASB Statement 34s.