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Sandwell Council poised to pull plug on multi-million BT deal

BT could lose a contract with Sandwell Council in the West Midlands if it doesn’t adjust conditions and improve service

BT has been given 30 days to “put right various defaults” in its agreement with Sandwell Council, or faces losing the services contract worth £15m a year.

The telecoms giant provides a number of managed services for the West Midlands borough council through a project called Transform Sandwell – including its contact centre and communications solutions – and has had the council signed up to a 15 year contract since 2007.

However, Sandwell has had to make hundreds of job cuts and wants its services contracts to echo the change in staff numbers.

The council has raised the issue with BT before. Local newspaper the Express & Star revealed Sandwell began dispute proceedings last September after becoming unhappy with the level of service it was receiving from BT.

Council leader Darren Cooper said: “Cabinet has approved a recommendation to start the process of ending our contract with BT. That termination will take effect in 30 days’ time unless BT puts right various defaults we have asked them to resolve.

“If we have to, I am confident we will be able to bring the services BT currently supplies to us back to the council and run them in the most effective way in future.”

BT confirmed it had received a termination notice from the council on 16 July 2013, giving 30 days until the end of the partnership, but wanted to keep the contract going.

A spokeswoman from the company said: “BT has throughout – and remains – fully committed to delivering the commitments it made through the Transform Sandwell partnership.”

“In the meantime, BT is reviewing the terms set out by the council so it would be inappropriate to comment any further on the matter.”

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