JUSTICE releases landmark report on responsible government contracting

Sir Gary Hickinbottom, member of 39 Essex Chambers, chaired the JUSTICE Working Party on Government Outsourcing which has now released its landmark report, ‘Beyond the Blame Game – A responsible and rights-centred approach to government contracting.’
The report concluded that outsourced public services often lack oversight, accountability and transparency, to the detriment of individual service users. It found that:

  • there is a frequent failure properly to consider individual service users, and their rights, when services are contracted out;
  • there is a need for a move away from a hands-off approach towards collaborative practices, better to uphold people’s rights and meet basic legal duties;
  • commissioning arms of government often do not have proper information about the quality of outsourced public services, and are often unaware of rights abuses until too late.

The Working Party gathered evidence across contracted-out public services, including welfare benefits, homelessness services and prisons/immigration detention centres. They took evidence from lawyers, politicians, charities, providers and others with direct experience of government procurement across the UK. 
Sir Gary Hickinbottom from 39 Essex Chambers chaired the Working Party throughout the 18-month investigation.  A retired Court of Appeal Judge, he now acts as arbitrator, mediator and assessor; chairs disciplinary and safeguarding proceedings; and also conducts independent investigations and inquiries.