Every year the British government spends £80 billion outsourcing public services. Today, private companies are responsible for fulfilling some of the most sensitive and important roles of the state – running prisons and providing healthcare, transport, legal aid, even child protection. These organizations have been handed enormous amounts of power and yet for the most part they operate with no transparency or accountability.From deportations to NHS cutbacks, Alan White exposes what goes wrong when the invisible hand of the market is introduced into public services. Informed by exclusive interviews with senior managers, campaigners and whistle-blowers, Shadow State is the first book to examine the controversial phenomenon of government outsourcing. Not only does White provide the full story behind scandals involving G4S, Serco and ATOS, but he also reveals previously unknown cases of system failure in areas such as social care, welfare and justice. The picture that develops is deeply troubling.