Outsourcing Bill of Rights

When I saw the InformationWeek story titled “Outsourcing Bill of Rights Proposed” I had to do a double take.   The words ‘outsourcing’ and ‘bill of rights’ haven’t historically fit together.

The story is interesting. Apparently, Alliance Global Services has created a Bill of Rights for their outsourcing clients, or IT Partners as Alliance likes to call their clients.  AGS lists the bill of rights on their website (see more here) and I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing it here:

  1. The right to demand transparency throughout every step of an engagement — from sales to contracting to delivery and termination
  2. The right to fully understand the nature and character of an IT partner and the service that it provides to them
  3. The right to fully understand the financial viability of an IT partner
  4. The right to be made aware of any impending legal charges against an IT partner, should they arise, as soon as they occur
  5. The right to arrive at a mutually agreed upon definition of the term “trusted partner”
  6. The right to expect a clear contract that defines fees and expenses up front before any agreement is signed
  7. The right to terminate a relationship with no financial penalty in the event of any admitted fraudulent activity
  8. The right to demand the existence of a truly independent board of advisers
  9. The right to expect the presence of an independent financial auditor accompanied by a set of checks and balances
  10. The right to demand accountability for any actions taken within the scope of a technology project or as part of a firm’s broader business practices

Alliance is trying to get 100,000 signatures on the Bill of Rights and they are trying to get other vendors to sign off and adopt these rights.

I have to say I’m a bit surprised that this was created by an outsourcer but I applaud the effort.  The ‘rights’ listed in the Bill of Rights should be something that any organization includes in their outsourcing agreements.  Outsourcing has always been frought with dangers and unclear contract language…these ‘rights’ might just help with that.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. Regardless of where this bill of rights goes, I think its in the interest of outsourcing companies and organizations looking to outsource to seriously consider implementing these clauses in their contracts.

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  • http://literalthinking.wordpress.com A Friend

    This is a “we’re not like the others” statement that has great potential of getting press but slim hopes of getting traction as far as true implementation goes.

    Points 1, 3, and 4 have just no hope of becoming norms among vendors, and we’re not just talking about outsourcing providers. And termination clauses (point 7) should already be in the customer’s radar: they should always insist on the inclusion of such in their service contracts that are to their satisfaction.

    What may be more viable is for some of the biggest outsourcing service providers to form their own self-regulating governing body, implement a bullet proof manifesto, and insist on members adhering to it.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ericbrown Eric D. Brown

    Hi Friend – You are correct. In my opinion, all of these 'rights' should be on the clients radar before going into any outsourcing deal. I do agree that 1, 3 & 4 are a bit naieve but its nice to hear people talking about it.

    I do wonder whether the outsourcing firm is thinking of themselves when they user the term "IT Partner" in this bill of rights….these rights should flow both ways. The client and outsourcer should both be bound by these rights.

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