Federal Outsourcing

Federal agency’s are under the gun to reduce expenses and improve services, in an environment impatient of complexities and uninterested in the larger picture.

Pros
• Outsourcing IT (or any) function can be sold to the public as a cost savings measure. This is not easily gainsaid because of opaque and varying accounting methods.
• The agency can obtain IT services more quickly, and more right sized thru outsourcing.
• Availability of proven widely used programs and processes.
• Favorable budget weighting
• In the absence of Federal standards and production of original IT, it is all outsourced inherently.
• Cumbersome labor regulations won’t apply.
• The enhanced possibility of income thru kickbacks.

Cons
• Contracting companies may not follow thru due to marketplace disruptions.
• Contracting companies may not achieve the expected outcome related to the absence of in-house coordination, and the unstated understanding that comes from being “in” the agency.
• Contracts are bi-directional, and if severable and not unitary may leave the agency on the hook though no useful product gained.
• Oversight and accountability is less stringent or even absent. Interagency contracts more so. The worst of government and business together.
• Cost savings difficult to prove.
• Ultimately the agency is still on the hook for the cost of failure, and will gain no revenue from success.

Why we should care
• Corporations are undemocratic and will always put investor return ahead of notions of public service. Consider what that means. (Origin of Corporations as instruments of government.
• How do we as citizens get resolution of problems when the buck never actually stops anywhere? Litigation?
• The feedback loop is likely to be even faultier.
• Outsourcing adds no value and rewards political connections over popular demands, how do you feel about corruption?

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