Cornwall Council finally signs off outsourcing deal with BT

Cornwall Council has awarded a £14m outsourcing deal to BT, ending months of often heated debate and major changes to its scope

Cornwall Council has awarded a £14m outsourcing deal to BT, ending months of often heated debate and major changes to its scope.

The deal will be finalised once some minor drafts to the contract are made, said a council spokeswoman.

BT's joint services venture was scaled down from the original proposal for outsourced services to what has become known as BT-Lite. In December 2012, councillors voted for the much-reduced privatisation option, covering Cornwall's IT department, and a joint venture with BT and regional health bodies to develop a telehealth hub.

In early March, the council’s cabinet voted in favour of inviting BT to bid for the contract.

The council’s plan to outsource services has dragged on for months, and former council leader Alec Robertson lost a confidence vote over the issue. Councillors felt the cabinet was attempting to push through the original deal, which was much broader, without full council consent. In October 2012, Robertson lost the confidence vote 63 to 49 over the handling of the outsourcing process. 

CSC, which was originally bidding for the work, pulled out in the same month.

About 300 staff will transfer from the council to the joint venture with BT.

BT is promising savings of £17.6m over the 10-year period. This will be £1m in the first year, rising to £1.9m in the third year and each year of the contract after. BT also committed to creating 510 new jobs in Cornwall and protect 181 existing jobs in Truro.  

“This proposal has been subject to a great deal of discussion and the contract has been thoroughly examined. As a result, all the partners are confident that the offer can be delivered, and we all now need to work together to achieve this," said Council leader Jim Currie. 

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