External Service Delivery involves the use of external parties to perform a service under contract. Generally, in the public sector, external service delivery involves the contracting out of services to a private sector provider or a non-government organisation (NGO). Only services that have been fully tested and have demonstrated a firm evidence-base for contracting out should be considered for external service delivery.
External Service Delivery may involve the delivery of a full end-to-end service or may involve the outsourcing of part of a service. In all cases the public sector body that contracts out the service remains responsible for the provision of the service. Therefore, planning for, and management of, the relationship between the contracting body and the private service provider is a crucial element of the process. In recognition of the complexity of issues that may arise, the Alternative Service Delivery Unit provides training, advice, support and published resources to assist public service managers that are embarking on or renewing external service delivery projects. This ensures that the public are getting the best value for money when services are provided through external bodies.
Well known public services that have been provided through ESD include the Local Property Tax call centre and JobPath, a new employment service contracted by the Department of Social Protection.