The government has reportedly axed plans to use "wholesale outsourcing" to help cut the national debt.
The BBC has received a leaked CBI document which recorded details of a recent meeting between Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and CBI director John Cridland.
In the note, the CBI said the government had come to the conclusion that the "wholesale outsourcing" of public services would be "politically unpalatable".
Instead, said the note - which was marked as "strictly private and confidential" - the government was now looking for public services to be more widely delivered by public/private partnerships.
This would include services being delivered through arrangements between charities, social enterprises or employee-owned mutual organisations and the private sector, including outsourcers.
Martyn Hart, chairman of the National Outsourcing Association (NOA), said of the leaked document: “It’s clear the jury is still out on how effectively charities and social enterprises can deliver public services.
"It would be a surprise if the government is able to achieve the level of cost reduction it is seeking, as most of the examples we’ve seen of this working already have been small and isolated [projects]."
Hart said the government's new stance may lead to a "wider opportunity" for service providers to deliver outsourcing in a number of different ways, and more examples of joint ventures and partnerships as a result.
Hart said the government should perhaps work to identify the areas where outsourcing can best add value, and use this as the basis for determining which services are outsourced or shared.
The CBI note says: "The minister's messages were clear cut. The government is committed to transforming services, but this would not be a return to the 1990s with wholesale outsourcing to the private sector. This would be unpalatable to the present administration."
It adds: "The government was not prepared to run the political risk of fully transferring services to the private sector with the result they could be accused of being naive or allowing excess profit making by private sector firms."
A Cabinet Office spokesman told the BBC: "Too often there has been a binary choice between the government providing a service itself or outsourcing it to the private sector.
"We want to change this by opening public services up to SMEs, employee co-operatives, voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises, who may often partner with the private sector."
The government believes this will create "more innovative and localised services, while also decreasing costs and increasing efficiency".
The government's final plans are expected to be outlined in the forthcoming Open Public Services White Paper, which is expected to be published later this month.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the government spent a "third less" on consultants in 2010.
Consultants are said to have made up the shortfall by winning more private sector work.
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