In Conflict States, To Contract Out or Not?

    In states beset by conflict, should the government contract out its core functions and essential services to the private sector and non-governmental organizations? If so, how should these services be outsourced to external providers? An expert says there is no hard and fast rule.

    “There are no standard blueprints for contracting out government services in situations of fragility,” according to Richard Batley, emeritus professor and Claire Mcloughlin a research fellow in the International Development Department of the University of Birmingham. 

    “Government policy-makers and field practitioners have to weigh up the pros and cons of contracting out and navigate the processes of procurement and implementation once the decision is taken,” they write in the blog, “OECD Insights.” 

    They say “almost everything” carried out by the government could be contracted out to private firms and NGOs. But there is “greatest reluctance,” they note, over functions that defines a state’s sovereignty such as diplomacy, security and defense, or those that affect policies. 

    Critics, however, say contracting out government services to external providers undermines the legitimacy and resilience of the state.

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    About the author

    • Dsc05567

      Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.