Seeks to evaluate the policy of competitive tendering for ancillary services in the National Health Service, by reference to a number of case studies of catering services. Argues that the success of the policy was dependent on certain assumptions being met about the extent of competitive pressure and the potential for savings, largely labour cost savings, to be made. Shows by case studies that these conditions frequently did not occur and hence the policy was flawed. Furthermore, even where these conditions did occur, the evidence shows that a range of other factors influenced the extent to which labour cost savings could be made.
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