What now for Cornwall Council outsourcing?

It has been an interesting couple of weeks at Cornwall Council. We have seen the political ramifications of outsourcing public sector services played out at the council.

At the end of last month I picked up a story on www.thisiscornwall.co.uk which revealed that the leader of Cornwall Council was facing a no confidence vote in relation to a proposed shared services deal, with either BT or CSC to provide services such as libraries, benefits, payroll and IT services.
Councillors were unhappy about the fact that the council leader was trying to push the decision on the outsourcing contract through the cabinet, hence bypassing a full vote in council. They were calling for a confidence vote over Alec Robertson’s leadership of the council.

Councillor Rob Nolan told me at the time that he thought the move to shared services should be a decision taken by the full council.

“We even had a vote of the full council and 46 members out of 123 voted against it, 29 voted for it. But the council counted those that abstained as voting for it,” said Nolan.

Nolan said that, although he is not a proponent of shared services, it is the fact that such a fundamental change is not being decided by full council that is the area of contention for him.
See the interview with Nolan here and more from him and another councillor here.

I then blogged about the man driving to outsourcing deal, CEO Kevin Lavery, who has worked for BT and Serco in the past.  It seems Lavery, who is responsible for a £1bn budget at Cornwall council, is a bit of an expert on shared services. Read more here.

Then the deputy leader Jim Currie of the council resigned over the issue. See his resignation letter here.

Then yesterday the confidence vote over Robertson’s leadership was held. Robertson lost by 63 votes to 49.

Soon after this it was announced that Jim Currie who had resigned as deputy leader was now leader.

So the deal with either CSC or BT would be dead in the water then? Well according to reports one of the suppliers has pulled out. But who knows?

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