THE collapse of Carillion has re-opened the ideological debate on public sector contracting and service provision.

Thankfully Warrington has no direct exposure by contract although the supply chain may be affected, as well as those in the pension fund. It will take a while for the full domino effect to occur.

Some councils have spent more than £100 million with Carillion in the past three years. We have seen policy swings between nationalisation, working with the charitable sector and an obsession with the private sector regarding the delivery of local services.

It’s not the case that private is good and public is bad or visa-versa.

What matters is what works and delivers the best quality outcomes for citizens and businesses.

It does seem difficult to understand why when it was clear that Carillion was in difficulty, it was picking up other public contracts.

The real issue now should be about ethical business driven by social value. There will be a lot of learning to be done from this crisis – including developing more faith in public bodies to deliver services ‘in-house’.

There will be a healthy discussion on the efficiency of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which again thankfully Warrington has no examples, although just outside our border, Whiston Hospital is a significant PFI project to which the taxpayer its now contributing.

The fate of the developments and delivery of public services is a big national issue and I hope Warrington will join this debate.

Steven Broomhead Chief Executive, WBC