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Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Monday, 16 July 2012 08:23 UK

Does government outsource too much?

There was a row when the government had to admit that the company it had hired to provide security at the Olympics could not do the job and the Army had to be brought in.

That drew attention to the way in which more and more of the services which were once provided by the public sector are now being outsourced to private companies.

Today reporter Nicola Stanbridge explains how outsourcing is growing and how accountable the companies are.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, says she is not worried about the fact the government uses a diverse number of providers but is concerned over their "accountability".

"If many of these companies hide behind commercial confidentiality it is extremely difficult... to see whether there is probity and value in our money that is being spent," she told the Today programme.

Andrew Haldenby, director of the think tank Reform, says that in cases where there is commercial confidentiality it is often because the government "doesn't want to give away the details of the contract".

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