What's this about?
Governments across the globe are searching for ways to find cost-savings without compromising the quality of the services they deliver. Many are turning to partnerships with private and not-for-profit service providers to achieve those goals.
Alternative service delivery (ASD) refers to the process of public sector restructuring that transfers responsibility for the delivery of public services to non-government entities.
In ASD arrangements, governments typically retain responsibility for strategy, policy, and compliance, while leveraging third-party know-how, processes, capital, and technology. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that under the right conditions, the private sector can deliver, and exceed, standards set by government on behalf of the public.
Our aim is to start the conversation among Ontarians about the future of public services. This conversation must be framed by our fiscal challenges: our growing debt and rising demand across many services.
We are convinced that without major public sector transformation, Ontario’s debt load will continue to rise.
The OCC’s motive to expand ASD is not ideological. Ontarians and Ontario businesses value public services and understand that current spending patterns threaten the sustainability of those services.
Government should work to overcome the major barriers to ASD, many of which are attitudinal. Negative public perceptions of ASD are rooted in some high-profile privatization failures. Those negative examples must be counterbalanced with successful examples of ASD, of which there are many in Ontario, including Teranet’s operation of Ontario’s automated land registration system, Serco’s operation of Ontario’s Driver Examination Centres, and the high number of publicly funded but privately operated health clinics that operate across the province.
As a first step, the Ontario government should partner with the private sector to conduct a government-wide ASD audit as a means of identifying areas where the public would benefit from the introduction of an ASD model. Government should make the results of the audit public. For more about our position on ASD, read Public Sector Problems, Private Sector Solutions and Unlocking the Public service Economy in Ontario.