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Editor's blog Monday 18 October 2010: Signal, noise, distortion - FT research shows private sector not yet better or cheaper

Scanning the early editions, I found this piece by Nick Timmins in the FT, which concludes that the fabled efficiency and cost advantage of the private sector in the delivery of public services is not proven.

The CBI's comic response to the NHS White Paper is duly put into context.

Nick Timmins is far from an apologist for collectivism. But he is surely right to conclude from reviewing evidence that competition and the contractual process, rather than superior performance by private sector providers.

The article doesn't mention that idiotic Wave 1 contract-writing of 'residual value guarantees' forces ether the DH or local NHS commissioners to buy out the ISTC buildings of any providers with whom it doesn't wish to renew the contracts. To an estimated £200 million tune. But you can't have everything.

And if Nick is wrong, then over the next few days we will all be overwhelmed by a tide of evidence, credible because it has been published in peer-reviewed journals and the like.


Just press releases stuffed with assertions, and perhaps the odd strongly-worded letter to the editor?