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PSCBCThe Star reports that more than three years after resolving to consider insourcing several key functions, the government has finally appointed a service provider to conduct an independent impact study into outsourcing and use of agents for some of its employees.  

The Regen Group will conduct research into the number of outsourcing contracts that each national and provincial government department has entered into between 2014 and last year.

According to the Department of Public Service and Administration, cleaning, catering, security, gardening and laundry services are among the job categories that will be the focus of the review.

The resolution to review outsourcing was taken at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) in February 2015.

Parties to the bargaining council had wanted the review to be conducted and a report presented within six months after the resolution was signed.

Government departments have until next Friday to submit the information required for the independent impact study.

In terms of the resolution, the PSCBC also wanted to find out the extent of wastage and corruption related to the awarding of tenders and payments made to private companies for their services compared to when these functions and services were performed by the government.

The review will find out the number of private companies that benefited as a result of outsourcing.

It wants details of the pitfalls and successes of outsourcing including costs savings recorded as a result of outsourcing, the number of jobs lost and created in each department and the value of the contracts.

The department wants information on the conditions of service of former state employees employed by private service providers due to outsourcing and its impact on the government’s empowerment agenda.

The review of outsourcing and use of agents follows the City of Johannesburg’s decision to start in-sourcing hundreds of security guards earlier this year.

In May, the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on economic development recommended that ministers, directors-general and heads of departments ensure that the Competition Commission utilise its allocated funds to speed up the training and upskilling of existing personnel and recruiting requisite skills to end the need for outsourcing and report on progress bi-annually.

The Joburg Municipality hopes to hire nearly 4 000 security guards through insourcing, increasing their remuneration and benefits while costing the city no more than what has been spent on over 100 security contracts for about R700 million a year.

The original of this report by Loyiso Sidimba appeared on page 11 of The Star of 7 October 2018

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