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Bournemouth Council could soon bring outsourced services including IT back in-house after the government cut its grant by £14m.
As other councils look to outsourcing as a way of cutting costs, Bournemouth is considering insourcing to gain better control over costs and increase its financial flexibility.
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Although IT is only a small proportion of council spending, it is often bundled with other services and outsourced with them.
Bournemouth Council originally outsourced its IT alongside revenues, benefits, and facilities management, human resources and payroll six years ago. It is now set to discuss a possible U-turn at a cabinet meeting next week.
According to local newspaper The Daily Echo, council leader John Beesley said the authority needs to find savings of £14m in the 2016/17 financial year and £12m the following year.
“There are even more difficult decisions needed beyond then and the council has no choice but to look further and deeper into departmental budgets to do all it can to protect frontline services,” he said.
“In this increasingly difficult financial environment, the council needs to control directly the £14m associated with the [outsourcing] contract.”
If approved by the full council, the move will see more than 200 staff being transferred back to the Dorset authority from supplier Kier.
Read more about local government outsourcing
- Dorset Council decides against outsourcing back-office services, including IT, due to a lack of flexibility.
- Cornwall Council gets green light from high court to end its £160m outsourcing deal with BT, and plans to give termination notice before Christmas.
- Edinburgh Council has signed a seven-year IT outsourcing contract with CGI in a bid to transform council services.
In a separate move in December, Dorset Council rejected outsourcing as an option for its back-office services, including IT, because it would not provide the flexibility it required.
Dorset Council needs to find £45m over the next three years due to a reduction in its grant – changes to the back-office services are part of this.
Robin Cook, cabinet member for corporate development at Dorset Council, said at the time that the council doesn’t spend too much money on these services, but that it could be more efficient.
Cook said that ideally all services would be kept in-house, but admitted this would not be possible and voiced support for the council’s support staff. “We want to give these hard-working people the tools to do their job in a more effective way. That is the aim here. In an ideal world, we’d look to keep all of this in-house.”