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Who wants to get shoved over to Serco?

By johnboy 17 December 2013 29

Government News is running concerns that the Commission of Audit is going to recommend large swathes of the public service be handed over to private sector groups like Serco and G4S:

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has ratcheted up pressure on the Abbott government to resist a push to hive off thousands of federal public service jobs to multinational outsourcers like Serco and G4S – which it claims is likely to be recommended by the forthcoming National Commission of Audit.

The pre-emptive push comes as Treasurer Joe Hockey prepares to hand down the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook statement that is anticipated to reveal an increase in the Budget deficit to around $50 billion.

While it is still not clear what parts of government activity could be potential candidates for outsourcing – other than existing functions like running immigration detention facilities – the prospect of gaining an increased share of public sector work will clearly be appealing to managed services and infrastructure providers.

However the CPSU has firmly signalled that it will count the movement of positions to the private sector towards the overall public sector job loss figure that it intends to hold the government to account for.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Who wants to get shoved over to Serco?
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EvanJames 11:25 am 18 Dec 13

LSWCHP said :

EvanJames said :

Roundhead89 said :

That wasn’t the end of it. After I left ACT Govco the mail sorting and courier part of what used to be Registry was moved holus bolus over to the Brambles building, and the whole thing was outsourced to Brambles (or Recall as it became) shortly after.

Heh! I worked there briefly… it was a tin shed near the Fyshwick Markets, with a dirt floor with old carpet laid over it! I was helping the bloke who was trying to set up a system whereby this registry would do all the registry stuff for all the ACT government.

Boxes and boxes of files, stacked up in the chicken wire enclosures in this shed, bunch of blue collar workers who didn’t give two hoots, and a few public servants who did care but no one wanted to know.

This was a bit later though, I figure the early noughties.

I seem to recall that shed (haha). Was it across the road from the markets, next to Big Jim Murphy’s grog shop? I knew a bloke who worked as a software developer for Recall. He was basically an ex public service clerk who’d bought a computer and taught himself how to write code out of some books, and my assessment was that he knew a lot of fancy tricks that would impress the gullible, but had no fundamental software engineering or CompSci skills at all.

I shuddered to think what their retrieval systems were like, and now I know.

Yep, that was it. I was helping a poor guy who was being punished for writing an article in the paper about why Canberra didn’t need, and couldn’t afford, a prison. He was banished to this shed, to set up this all-of-government registry. Laying lines and cables sure was easy, just lift a section of the carpet and there was dirt and dead grass underneath.

pompom 8:37 am 18 Dec 13

Sitting in the UK it’s interesting to see how your new neoliberal administration is following closely the sort of policies we have been suffering here.
I’m interested to hear mention of Serco, for instance. They’ve got some big contracts here (amongst many others) running electronic tagging contracts as an alternative to imprisonment. They have recently been caught out fraudently charging the UK govt. for tagging prisoners who were in jail or dead.
And G4S, of course, had the contract for providing security at the London Olympics last year and. at the last minute, had to admit they couldn’t supply enough security staff – as a result the army had to take over.
So the best of luck with your privatisation policies, it seems clear to me that your new govt., like ours, has created a supposed financial crisis as an excuse for giving profitable new business to their mates. And what you’re seeing now is just the beginning, believe me.

simsim 6:38 am 18 Dec 13

tommo said :

JC said :

milkman said :

Badly written contracts, ambiguous requirements, poorly defined SLAs and lack of ability to assess tender responses will do that every time.

Along with companies who as I mention bid low to get the work then come cap in hand because what they bid was too low.

This sort of thing is crap. If a company bids lower than they can afford to provide the service they should be liable and held accountable. Why do we give handouts to companies that could not complete the original contract? If they cannot complete the task for the price they said they could then the government should be able to hand the contract to someone else and sue the original company for any and all additional costs.
It seems as no project completes within budget these days as there is no incentive to do so. Everything is drawn out and poorly managed just because there is free money for doing so.

The problem is that there is usually an obligaiton to provide un-interrupted service – and going out to hand a contract to someone else will usually cause a substantial interruption to the service. So it’s a choice of “sub-standard service” or “no service” – with no guarantee that the next person you hand the job onto will actually provide a better service anyway since your last selection process proved to be so wildly unsuccessful at culling out incapable people.

Basically, there’s a lot of holes in the system that dishonest vendors can take advantage of wholesale.

gooterz 12:51 am 18 Dec 13

tommo said :

JC said :

milkman said :

Badly written contracts, ambiguous requirements, poorly defined SLAs and lack of ability to assess tender responses will do that every time.

Along with companies who as I mention bid low to get the work then come cap in hand because what they bid was too low.

This sort of thing is crap. If a company bids lower than they can afford to provide the service they should be liable and held accountable. Why do we give handouts to companies that could not complete the original contract? If they cannot complete the task for the price they said they could then the government should be able to hand the contract to someone else and sue the original company for any and all additional costs.
It seems as no project completes within budget these days as there is no incentive to do so. Everything is drawn out and poorly managed just because there is free money for doing so.

If gov doesn’t spec the contract properly, company delivers X when gov needs Y.

Company then says sure we can make X into Y, but it’ll cost ya.

Company wins big time as they get whatever they want.

if its all internal then the cost is minimal.

After all if a private firm can do it cheaper why doesn’t the government run it as a private firm?

milkman 12:44 am 18 Dec 13

JC said :

milkman said :

Badly written contracts, ambiguous requirements, poorly defined SLAs and lack of ability to assess tender responses will do that every time.

Along with companies who as I mention bid low to get the work then come cap in hand because what they bid was too low.

Indeed.

But if government actually wrote and assessed tenders properly, you’d see a lot less of this behaviour because it simply wouldn’t fly. The problem is that for many depts, best value simply means cheapest.

tommo 10:54 pm 17 Dec 13

JC said :

milkman said :

Badly written contracts, ambiguous requirements, poorly defined SLAs and lack of ability to assess tender responses will do that every time.

Along with companies who as I mention bid low to get the work then come cap in hand because what they bid was too low.

This sort of thing is crap. If a company bids lower than they can afford to provide the service they should be liable and held accountable. Why do we give handouts to companies that could not complete the original contract? If they cannot complete the task for the price they said they could then the government should be able to hand the contract to someone else and sue the original company for any and all additional costs.
It seems as no project completes within budget these days as there is no incentive to do so. Everything is drawn out and poorly managed just because there is free money for doing so.

LSWCHP 10:51 pm 17 Dec 13

EvanJames said :

Roundhead89 said :

That wasn’t the end of it. After I left ACT Govco the mail sorting and courier part of what used to be Registry was moved holus bolus over to the Brambles building, and the whole thing was outsourced to Brambles (or Recall as it became) shortly after.

Heh! I worked there briefly… it was a tin shed near the Fyshwick Markets, with a dirt floor with old carpet laid over it! I was helping the bloke who was trying to set up a system whereby this registry would do all the registry stuff for all the ACT government.

Boxes and boxes of files, stacked up in the chicken wire enclosures in this shed, bunch of blue collar workers who didn’t give two hoots, and a few public servants who did care but no one wanted to know.

This was a bit later though, I figure the early noughties.

I seem to recall that shed (haha). Was it across the road from the markets, next to Big Jim Murphy’s grog shop? I knew a bloke who worked as a software developer for Recall. He was basically an ex public service clerk who’d bought a computer and taught himself how to write code out of some books, and my assessment was that he knew a lot of fancy tricks that would impress the gullible, but had no fundamental software engineering or CompSci skills at all.

I shuddered to think what their retrieval systems were like, and now I know.

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