Position Paper: Outsourcing in the Public Sector

Outsourcing in the Public Sector emphasizes the essential role of procurement staff in the outsourcing decision and its successful execution. In the public sector, the term "outsourcing" refers to the practice of contracting out to third-party vendors functions that had previously been completed by public employees. The practice of outsourcing can be fiscally sound. However, it should not be undertaken without serious consideration about its potential implications. Outsourcing has been common practice in government for at least a century, although it gained momentum in the 1980's. While not a new concept, outsourcing still has a direct impact on a government entity’s ability to function successfully and deliver necessary services to the public. This paper discusses the role of the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) in making the decision for a public entity to outsource. The decision to outsource must be well-informed and thoughtful. It should be supported by skilled professionals who have the strategic vision and expertise to improve operations while protecting the public good.