local government offshoring head of steam building and I think Serco knows it?

I wrote yesterday about Birmingham City Council’s controversial decision to offshore about 100 jobs including IT roles.

Birmingham City Council is seen as a pioneering local authority in terms of IT so for it to offshore work could be the green light many a local government CIO has been waiting for.

Add to that the fact that the government has committed to reducing spending and cut local council budgets and you have the perfect storm for offshoring IT in local government.

And just a few days ago outsourcing giant Serco acquired Mumbai based BPO service provider Intelenet Global Services for £385m. Serco does loads of public sector services so the acquisition which takes the size of its Indian workforce from 4,000 to 40,000 will surely mean more government processes being done in India.

Peter Brudenall, outsourcing lawyer at law firm Lawrence Graham says: “Presumably Serco knows what is around the corner in terms of the Government offshoring work.”

He said the government planned cuts “[They] might lead to a transformation of the UK public service, but the difficulty will be getting the electorate ‘on-side’ and seeing the benefits.  It has already proven difficult for banks to convince customers of the benefits of call centres based in Bangalore.

With companies like Mahindra Satyam eager to offer shared services to local government in response to the government’s call for innovation from suppliers it might not be long before local services are provided from thousands of miles away.

A lack of experience of offshoring in the public sector could make this a painful transition.

I posed a question yesterday to get the views of IT professionals about Birmingham City Council’s decision. I have had quite a few response,s which I will soon post about. But please fill in the below questionnaire to add to the debate.


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