Shadow State: Inside the Secret Companies that Run Britain
Alan White

Shadow State: Inside the Secret Companies that Run Britain

Until the G4S Olympics debacle, public service commissioning had very rarely made the front pages. This is strange, because it's a huge industry. The current outsourced market for public services has an annual turnover of £82bn, representing around 24 per cent spend on public services in the UK. Under the Coalition, it's getting bigger.

            We now can't afford a company like Serco to fail: it deals with prisons, health and social care, transport services, maintenance services for missile defence, air traffic control, pathology, government websites and waste collection, among other services. Outsourced public services have an impact on the entire economy, in terms of wage levels, benefit demands and spending power. It matters because these services are vital to our social fabric. What happens to a child in a children’s home or a prisoner in jail affects all of us. Should these services be delivered for profit? And exactly what is happening in the shadow state? Until now, the public has had precious little idea.

  • The first ever long-form survey of the outsourcing industry.
  • A continuation of Alan White's acclaimed "Shadow State" series for the New Statesman.
  • Will feature exclusive interviews with Government ministers, executives from outsourcing companies, and campaigners fighting to prevent their expansion.
  • Will tell the story of the outsourcing industry from beginning to present,
  • Will expose, for the very first time, a number of fresh examples of system failure in the social care system, in our justice system, and in health care.

Book Details:

  • Author: Alan White
  • Published Year: 2016
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Oneworld

Alan White

Alan White is News Editor at BuzzFeed UK. He has won the Royal Television Society Award for Scoop of the Year and been shortlisted for a British Journalism Award for Investigation of the Year. Prior to joining BuzzFeed his work appeared in the Observer, TLS, Private Eye and the Sunday Express. His series of articles, ‘The Shadow State', ran on the New Statesman website and were amongst its most read pieces that year. 
More about Alan White

Book Reviews

  • "..this powerful account of the impact of the privatisation of public services in this country,..this book is worth reading...a timely and important analysis of this often overlooked feature of public life."
    Evening Standard
  • "..readable and well ordered, and hammers home its point of view by highlighting the weak oversight of outsourcing contracts by public-sector chiefs."
    Literary Review