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compulsory competitive tendering

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is a requirement for public sector organizations to allow private sector firms to bid for the delivery of services (such as catering, cleaning, security, transport) in competition with any internal provision by the organization itself. The policy was developed by the UK Conservative government of the 1980s, and the intention was to introduce ‘market relationships’ into the public sector on the assumption that this would drive down cost and improve efficiency, whilst ensuring quality through contractual obligations. CCT led to the transfer of many public sector jobs to the private sector and to cuts in pay and conditions of employment for many public sector manual workers, who found they could only win tenders by accepting an inferior employment package. The compulsion to tender was relaxed under the Labour government elected in 1997, but the practice of competitive tendering and the transfer of service delivery to the private and voluntary sectors has continued. [See marketization and transfer of undertaking.]

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