Swindon Council has hired a private sector IT director, Hitesh Patel, to push through a major outsourcing project.
The council published a tender notice last week and aims to transfer some customer facing systems to a strategic partner by 1 November.
The council expects to transfer its revenues, benefits and back-office functions, including finance, human resources and IT, to the partner in a 10-year deal worth £18.5m a year. It aims to sign the contract on 1 October.
The authority is anxious to avoid the problems associated with a prolonged procurement process that affected similar projects at Swansea and Walsall councils.
Gavin Jones, the council's deputy chief executive, said, "Patel was chosen to be the programme director because he had experience of three major outsourcing partnerships while he was with Diageo."
As the drinks company's global IS strategy director, Patel oversaw the outsourcing to IBM of Diageo's worldwide technology infrastructure and services.
He followed the £350m IBM infrastructure deal with a £30m-plus five-year contract with Accenture to develop Diageo's SAP system.
Patel's first outsourcing deal at Diageo was 10 years ago with CSC. "A few years later, we decided to insource parts of the contract because we had not been clear about what we wanted," he said.
Swindon Council's lessons for successful outsourcing
Before embarking on its outsourcing strategy, Swindon Council looked at the experiences of other councils that have used strategic partners.
Deputy chief executive Gavin Jones identified three lessons:
- Be clear about the outcomes expected from strategic partners
- Link delivery of outcomes to the payment mechanism
- Both council and supplier must be able to afford any deal.