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Procurement Briefing: Publication of PPN 5/20

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By Mary Mundy and Victoria Fletcher


Published 16 June 2020


Updated Outsourcing Playbook

PPN 5/20 introduces the updated Outsourcing Playbook (“Outsourcing Playbook V2”) that has been published by Cabinet Office along with guidance on approaching and evaluating outsourcing projects. Although the PPN and Outsourcing Playbook V2 apply to all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies (referred to as “In Scope Organisations”), the PPN sets out that the Outsourcing Playbook V2 and associated guidance is considered good practice and can be applied across the public sector.

The Outsourcing Playbook was originally published in 2019 following lessons learned from the Carillion collapse to provide guidance to In Scope Organisations and the wider public sector on how to approach outsourcing a service so as to improve decision making and the quality of contracts. It set out 11 key policies to be worked through and introduced the “Make or Buy” consideration to address when it is best to deliver a service in-house or bring in private sector expertise together with the costs of each model.

What’s new?

Some themes of the Outsourcing Playbook V2 are collaboration both internally and externally as well as a focus on innovation and effective social value. It provides more guidance on the 11 key policies set out in the original version and introduces the following:

  • Delivery Model Assessments (previously “Make or Buy”) – these should form part of the Strategic Outline Case and should enable departments to analyse whether they should deliver a service, or part of a service, in-house, procure from the market or adopt a hybrid solution;
  • Piloting First Generation Outsourcing – there is a presumption that a pilot should be run first to test whether a long term delivery model is appropriate for the relevant service although exemptions can be agreed if a pilot would not be practical or beneficial;
  • Building and Maintaining Successful Relationships focussing on effective mobilisation activities, effective contract management and working together with suppliers both collaboratively and strategically.

What now?

In Scope Organisations are to take action to apply the rules and guidance set out in Outsourcing Playbook V2.

There is a lot of helpful guidance to work through and the Outsourcing Playbook V2 emphasises that the delivery of public services is a collaborative process involving colleagues from Commercial, Finance, Project Delivery, Policy and other professions.

In our view it is likely that the impact of Covid-19 on services and departments will be drawn out in these assessments going forward and that an element of services may need some redesign as a result.

If you would like to discuss anything in relation to this briefing, please contact Mary, Hannah or Victoria.