SOUTH Oxfordshire District Council hopes to save millions of pounds by outsourcing some of its back-office services to
SOUTH Oxfordshire District Council hopes to save millions of pounds by outsourcing some of its back-office services to two private companies.
It has agreed a deal with Capita to deliver a range of corporate services, including human resources, IT and finance, and with Vinci to provide facilities management and property services.
It means some council staff will have to relocate to the companies’ offices.
The agreement involves four other councils — Vale of White Horse in Oxfordshire, Hart and Havant in Hampshire and Mendip in Somerset — in what is believed to be the first procurement deal of its kind in Britain.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, which already share some management functions, say the deal will save them £18million over the next nine years while all five councils will together save £50 million.
South Oxfordshire District Council said the councils would benefit from the two companies’ experience across the public and private sectors. A spokesman said: “Location is no longer a barrier to achieving savings if partners are committed to joint working and share the same goals.
“It’s a move that’s being closely observed by central government and many local authorities across the country.”
Council leader John Cotton said: “The bigger picture here is that many councils are having to cut frontline services due to pressures on their budgets.
“We spotted this opportunity to make significant savings early on so that we were in a better position to weather any future financial storms and in order to continue to provide the most efficient public services possible.”
Contracts are due to be signed on March 31 and come into effect in August. The councils say staff will be given support, advice and training during the transition period.
• The chief executive of South Oxfordshire District Council is to retire in the summer. David Buckle, 59, has been in post since 2000 and has also been chief executive of neighbouring Vale of White Horse District Council for eight years. His £135,000-a-year position will be filled.