Professor Kieran Walsh of Birmingham University's Institute of Local Government Studies said:
'Local authorities have certainly made savings in IT through facilities management agreements. The issue is how much of these savings have been due to the ability of the company to use the equipment more effectively than the local authority could, not simply because they may be better managers but because they are in the private sector.'
There is also a flood of criticism against the compulsory nature of the government's competitive tendering for local authorities, the paper reports.
'We have no difficulties with the competition as such: we're happy to be compared with the private sector. What we don't believe will be effective is the compulsory nature of it.'
The society's criticism is echoed by some private contractors too, examined in the feature in The Independent.