Who really runs the public sector?
In the second part of a special series into the outsourcing of public sector work to private firms, we profile the big names which win the contracts as well as some of the controversies.
Such is the fragmented nature of the outsourcing industry, it is extremely difficult to establish which firms have which percentage of available public sector contracts on their books.
This picture is further complicated by the fact that not all of the companies which carry out work on behalf of the sector operate under the name of their parent company. For example, the under-fire courts translation company Applied Language Solutions is now owned by the arguably better-known Capita.
Channel 4 News profiles three of the better-known companies and hears from outsourcing expert Peter Smith how effective outsourcing has been in local government, the NHS and in prisons.
Capita 46,500 employees, 2011 revenues of £2,930m and pre-tax profits of £302.9m (Source: Capita website) Capita was established in 1984 as part of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
Local government Collects business rates on behalf of 18 local authorities and pays out council tax and housing benefits on behalf of 139 local authorities.
Recruitment Early in 2012, Capita won a contract to run recruitment services for the British Army. The army says the move will "release over 1,000 military recruiters back to the front line, and will deliver hundreds of millions of pounds in benefits".
Capita has also run the BBC's HR operations since 2006 which the corporation estimates is saving it £50m
Communications Provides radios for Britain's emergency services such as London Fire Brigade, for whom it has just signed a contract to provide control room services
In announcing the contract, the company said: "In the longer term it will make technological innovation easier to implement and help change the communications behaviour of the general public, reducing, for example, the number of non-urgent calls"
Health Offers occupational health services and operates a government contract to assess people for disability benefits under the personal independence payment programme (which is replacingdisability living allowance) across central England and Wales
TV Licensing Since 2002 has operated the contract to administer and collect the television licence fee. Capita says it has reduced TV licence evasion to 5.2 per cent
Applied Language Solutions (ALS): Capita took over ALS in December 2011. In the previous July, ALS had won a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) contract to provide court interpreters. Since the beginning of the contract on 1 February 2012, there have been complaints from the judiciary and solicitors about the service including allegations that some cases had to resort to using Google translate. The way in which ALS was awarded the contract as well as its subsequent performance are to be investigated by MPs.