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Cheap and Dirty: The Effect of Contracting Out Cleaning on Efficiency and Effectiveness

A new research report by Shimaa Elkomy, Graham Cookson, and Simon Jones shows that contracting out cleaning harms efficiency and effectiveness. “Contracting out of public services, especially ancillary services, has been a key feature of New Public Management since the 1980s. By 2014, more than £100 billion of U.K. public services were being contracted out annually to the private sector. A number of high‐profile cases have prompted a debate about the value for money that these contracts provide. Value for money comprises both the cost and the quality of the services. This article empirically tests the contestability and quality shading hypotheses of contracting out in the context of cleaning services in the English National Health Service. Additionally, a new hypothesis of coupling is presented and tested: the effect of contracting of ancillary services on patient health outcomes, using the hospital‐acquired infection rate as our measure. Using data from 2010–11 to 2013–14 for 130 National Health Service trusts, the study finds that private providers are cheaper but dirtier than their in‐house counterparts.”

Source: onlinelibrary.wiley.com

Cleaners in public buildings in Geneva want to return to the public sector

Several years ago, the Geneva office in charge of public buildings in the Canton took the decision to contract out the cleaning work in the buildings to private companies. This has resulted in a huge loss for the workers, and they are campaigning for the cleaning to return to the public sector. PSI affiliate in Switzerland, SSP, has sent a petition with more than 2,500 signatures to the Grand Council of Geneva, asking them to reintegrate the cleaning staff into the public service. They have published a video comparing the working conditions faced by cleaning staff in the public and private sectors.