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Clancy notches up ICT savings and opportunities for local firms

Clancy notches up ICT savings and opportunities for local firms

🕔18.May 2017

Service Birmingham, the joint IT company established by Birmingham City Council and Capita, will be wound up three years early.

The announcement came from the leader of Birmingham city council at a cabinet meeting earlier this week when he updated senior councillors about efforts to “bear down” on IT costs.

Councillor John Clancy remarked:

…during this calendar year, 2017, the Service Birmingham joint venture will be dissolved. We will be moving forward in a completely different way…innovative, creative ways of both driving down ICT costs in this city council and better delivering services to our citizens.

He guaranteed to deliver planned in-year savings as a result.

During the course of the next four years, £43M savings would be delivered through the new arrangements, according to the council leader.

The move will enable the leader to say he has delivered on one of his main manifesto promises in his long-held ambition to head the Labour Group and city council.

The Council says that it will enable a ‘free for all’ with local companies able to bid for contracts for services currently delivered by Service Birmingham.

The joint venture company, through which Capita ran the city’s ICT, council tax collection and previously its call centre, was set up in 2006.

The contract has come under severe criticism, not least from Cllr Clancy when on the backbenches and his allies in and outside of the council.

The council and Capita have agreed to wind up the company by March 2018 and its 200 staff will be transferred back onto the council payroll.

Capita will continue to deliver IT services until the end of the contract in 2021.

The Birmingham Post reports the council leader as saying:

I made it clear upon becoming council leader we could not continue to spend a vast amount of money on ICT given the tough decisions that have to be taken about cutting spending in other departments.

This agreement means that Birmingham City Council will have more to spend on frontline services and to deliver key policy priority pledges on inclusive growth, housing and social services.

It is intended to bring about 200 Capita employees back to the city council and we are also committed to putting future ICT projects out to the market so that Birmingham and West Midlands companies can bid for the work.

The move is backed by the opposition Conservative group. Its leader, Councillor Robert Alden, said it was included in their alternative council budget.

Cllr Clancy praised the council’s negotiating team, led by Chief Operating Officer Angela Probert.

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