New terms deal could save council £2m

This Is Wiltshire: Council leader David Renard Council leader David Renard

SWINDON Council is set to save about £2m a year by renegotiating with Capita on back-office services.

Since signing the deal with Capita seven years ago many of the services can now be provided in-house and the council is looking to alter the terms.

The company provides customer services, finance administration and business support. The council wants to take these services back but the information and communications technology (ICT) would still be provided by Capita under a new strategy.

Capita would also continue its role in collecting council tax and paying out benefits.

The contract with Capita, worth more than £240 million, was signed in 2007 and was set to last for 15 years.

But after some services were brought back under direct council control, many of the services provided by Capita are now duplicated.

Also, the council has become less reliant on Capita for some of its services.

The deal with Swindon Council has allowed the company to win contracts with other local authorities and there are now fewer specialists to dedicate their time to Swindon.

Council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “A number of years ago we entered into a 15-year contract with Capita but we obviously now live in a very different world.

“The council has to find savings every year and that means nothing is off the cards, so we have asked to sit down and have a look at the contract.

“The potential saving of £2m is very significant so it is something we have to look at. In fairness to Capita, we have asked to look at the arrangement on a number of occasions and they have been receptive.

“We want to maintain a positive relationship with them because there are things, such as revenue and benefits, which they do very well.”

It is expected that around 200 Capita staff will move to the council’s employment. There are around 256 employed by Capita but it is not yet known whether there will be any job losses.

A Capita spokeswoman said: “Swindon Council has undertaken a thorough review of its budget and services, including those services delivered by Capita.

“The council is considering a range of options to ensure it delivers integrated and effective services and Capita is fully engaged in that process.

“Capita’s priority is to continue delivering high quality services to the council and residents in Swindon, and to keep our employees informed throughout the process.”

Comments (14)

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8:25am Tue 24 Jun 14

house on the hill says...

Makes you wonder why regular reviews weren't built in to the original contract so they could have done this sooner and saved more money over the years. They were royally screwed by the Capita with the initial contract and strange that the council officers who negotiated it ended up working for Capita!
The don't care about service only making money and the sooner the council wake up to that and start ensuring we get the service we pay for the better.

Most council workers are stunned they have signed again with Capita as they feel the whole process is more complicated, time consuming and overall less effective and that is before the hundreds of jobs lost from Swindon in Capita's processing and call centres off site. They can argue that it saves money but in terms of benefit to Swindon as a whole the loss of those jobs and the money that would have been spent here if employees worked here (and the number of people taken off benefits to do the jobs) far outweighs it but then SBC have never been good at the bigger picture!
Makes you wonder why regular reviews weren't built in to the original contract so they could have done this sooner and saved more money over the years. They were royally screwed by the Capita with the initial contract and strange that the council officers who negotiated it ended up working for Capita! The don't care about service only making money and the sooner the council wake up to that and start ensuring we get the service we pay for the better. Most council workers are stunned they have signed again with Capita as they feel the whole process is more complicated, time consuming and overall less effective and that is before the hundreds of jobs lost from Swindon in Capita's processing and call centres off site. They can argue that it saves money but in terms of benefit to Swindon as a whole the loss of those jobs and the money that would have been spent here if employees worked here (and the number of people taken off benefits to do the jobs) far outweighs it but then SBC have never been good at the bigger picture! house on the hill
  • Score: 18

9:19am Tue 24 Jun 14

Spurs Fan says...

House on the Hill, it is not often I find myself agreeing with you. However, in this case you have got it spot on. Capita in Swindon has been a disaster, like Liberata before them. Outsourcing front and back office services does not work in the longer term.
House on the Hill, it is not often I find myself agreeing with you. However, in this case you have got it spot on. Capita in Swindon has been a disaster, like Liberata before them. Outsourcing front and back office services does not work in the longer term. Spurs Fan
  • Score: 10

9:32am Tue 24 Jun 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)?
Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.
How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -11

12:32pm Tue 24 Jun 14

house on the hill says...

Spurs Fan wrote:
House on the Hill, it is not often I find myself agreeing with you. However, in this case you have got it spot on. Capita in Swindon has been a disaster, like Liberata before them. Outsourcing front and back office services does not work in the longer term.
Blimey, what can I say!!!! I dont like outsourcing in any event, but in the Public Sector it is always going to cause problems. On the one side you have SBC who prime directive is to provide the best possible service they can to their tax payers and for Capita it is to make as much money as they can for their shareholders and provide the cheapest service they can get away with. One example is benefits, the front line staff are in Swindon, the processing is done in Somerset and the call centre is in Coventry, that's a recipe for disaster.

Do you or have you ever worked at the council if you are happy to say?
[quote][p][bold]Spurs Fan[/bold] wrote: House on the Hill, it is not often I find myself agreeing with you. However, in this case you have got it spot on. Capita in Swindon has been a disaster, like Liberata before them. Outsourcing front and back office services does not work in the longer term.[/p][/quote]Blimey, what can I say!!!! I dont like outsourcing in any event, but in the Public Sector it is always going to cause problems. On the one side you have SBC who prime directive is to provide the best possible service they can to their tax payers and for Capita it is to make as much money as they can for their shareholders and provide the cheapest service they can get away with. One example is benefits, the front line staff are in Swindon, the processing is done in Somerset and the call centre is in Coventry, that's a recipe for disaster. Do you or have you ever worked at the council if you are happy to say? house on the hill
  • Score: 4

12:34pm Tue 24 Jun 14

The Real Librarian says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.
Can you remind us of an instance where we have actually won?
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.[/p][/quote]Can you remind us of an instance where we have actually won? The Real Librarian
  • Score: 5

12:45pm Tue 24 Jun 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

The Real Librarian wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.
Can you remind us of an instance where we have actually won?
It is costing a lot less to outsource than having to pay for the work to be done by public employees: salaries, pensions, equipment, office location, insurances, maintenance etc...
[quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.[/p][/quote]Can you remind us of an instance where we have actually won?[/p][/quote]It is costing a lot less to outsource than having to pay for the work to be done by public employees: salaries, pensions, equipment, office location, insurances, maintenance etc... A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -1

1:58pm Tue 24 Jun 14

house on the hill says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Real Librarian wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.
Can you remind us of an instance where we have actually won?
It is costing a lot less to outsource than having to pay for the work to be done by public employees: salaries, pensions, equipment, office location, insurances, maintenance etc...
You have clearly never worked at the Council with all the problems the outsourcing causes and the inferior service they provide. There is also very much an "Us and Them" feeling too which causes friction and bad feeling and conflicts in priority not to mention the hundreds of jobs taken out of Swindon.

Also the errors they cause cost money to put right and Capita themselves then outsource further and trying to find who you need to actually contact to get something done is a nightmare. As with many things the theory looks appealing but the reality is anything but!!!
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: How possible it would it have been to find £2m savings with a public service employing civil servants (union members)? Private outsourcing is the way forward in order to downsize our public services, and it is far more flexible, and it is rewarding shareholders (it could be any of you), saving us taxes and paying you (if you happen to be a shareholder) dividends, it is a win win situation.[/p][/quote]Can you remind us of an instance where we have actually won?[/p][/quote]It is costing a lot less to outsource than having to pay for the work to be done by public employees: salaries, pensions, equipment, office location, insurances, maintenance etc...[/p][/quote]You have clearly never worked at the Council with all the problems the outsourcing causes and the inferior service they provide. There is also very much an "Us and Them" feeling too which causes friction and bad feeling and conflicts in priority not to mention the hundreds of jobs taken out of Swindon. Also the errors they cause cost money to put right and Capita themselves then outsource further and trying to find who you need to actually contact to get something done is a nightmare. As with many things the theory looks appealing but the reality is anything but!!! house on the hill
  • Score: 9

2:04pm Tue 24 Jun 14

BCDR99 says...

The key to outsourcing well is two pronged in my opinion. The golden rule is never, ever outsource core services. If someone else can perform your core functions better than you, then you're doing it wrong and you need to review how you operate, not simply outsource it.
Secondly, the contract needs to be very well written. Unfortunately, in most cases, the private company doing the work will have better lawyers than the public sector organisation outsourcing it so the contract will inevitably be skewed in the favour of the side with the better lawyers.
The key to outsourcing well is two pronged in my opinion. The golden rule is never, ever outsource core services. If someone else can perform your core functions better than you, then you're doing it wrong and you need to review how you operate, not simply outsource it. Secondly, the contract needs to be very well written. Unfortunately, in most cases, the private company doing the work will have better lawyers than the public sector organisation outsourcing it so the contract will inevitably be skewed in the favour of the side with the better lawyers. BCDR99
  • Score: 10

5:10pm Tue 24 Jun 14

beach1e says...

so duplication of work is going on...more proof that this council has not got a clue about managing money that comes from hard working people....this council couldnt be more inefficient if it tried,and as for this council trying to do its best for council tax payers? thats an initiative they havent got off the drawing board.
so duplication of work is going on...more proof that this council has not got a clue about managing money that comes from hard working people....this council couldnt be more inefficient if it tried,and as for this council trying to do its best for council tax payers? thats an initiative they havent got off the drawing board. beach1e
  • Score: -3

10:23pm Tue 24 Jun 14

mrsdoubtfire says...

Capita don't care about the Customer, it's "all" about money for them. Customer Service within the Council has fallen drastically. Longer waiting on the phones and longer waiting for a face-to-face service. Good riddance to them. Hopefully it will change back to putting the Customer first!!!
Capita don't care about the Customer, it's "all" about money for them. Customer Service within the Council has fallen drastically. Longer waiting on the phones and longer waiting for a face-to-face service. Good riddance to them. Hopefully it will change back to putting the Customer first!!! mrsdoubtfire
  • Score: 1

12:26pm Wed 25 Jun 14

jonelway says...

Get them OUT! Profit that Capita makes is my tax money not being spent on services. It's private profit. This is criminal!

I'm not denying that SBC couldn't make efficiency gains, but as soon as that money enters Capita pockets it is no longer tax money under the control of our elected. No matter what efficiency gains are made by Capita (if any) we are loosing money that could be spent on services to private profit. We are not benefiting from it and can never benefit from it.

And that's before I join other is saying how shocking bad Capita in delivering service.
Get them OUT! Profit that Capita makes is my tax money not being spent on services. It's private profit. This is criminal! I'm not denying that SBC couldn't make efficiency gains, but as soon as that money enters Capita pockets it is no longer tax money under the control of our elected. No matter what efficiency gains are made by Capita (if any) we are loosing money that could be spent on services to private profit. We are not benefiting from it and can never benefit from it. And that's before I join other is saying how shocking bad Capita in delivering service. jonelway
  • Score: 1

2:07pm Wed 25 Jun 14

house on the hill says...

beach1e wrote:
so duplication of work is going on...more proof that this council has not got a clue about managing money that comes from hard working people....this council couldnt be more inefficient if it tried,and as for this council trying to do its best for council tax payers? thats an initiative they havent got off the drawing board.
Not sure why that attracted negative thumbs as you are completely spot on.

there are 3 different groups of people in this town.

those who have never worked at the Council and have no first hand knowledge of the out of date working practices, systems, staff and ideas and the massive waste in resources that causes.

those who have only ever worked at the council or other public sector organisation and have nothing to compare how they do things with and some who seriously think they are doing a good job but compared to their private sector equivalents they wouldn't even be close.

And those who have worked in both the public and private sectors and are totally stunned by how the council is still in existence with its waste, inefficiencies, deadwood and lack of ideas and desire on how to change and improve. If the council wasnt this unique monopoly that is not only the only place you can go for these services but that everyone is forced by law to pay for it and had any sort of competition they would have gone bankrupt years ago.

They don't need to cut services, they need to drag themselves into the 21st century with staff and working practices, get rid of Capita who are actually in reality more trouble than they are worth in the overall scheme of things and be accountable and responsible for the way they spend (waste) our money that we are forced by law to pay them.

But then we have as much chance of that happening as England winning the World Cup!
[quote][p][bold]beach1e[/bold] wrote: so duplication of work is going on...more proof that this council has not got a clue about managing money that comes from hard working people....this council couldnt be more inefficient if it tried,and as for this council trying to do its best for council tax payers? thats an initiative they havent got off the drawing board.[/p][/quote]Not sure why that attracted negative thumbs as you are completely spot on. there are 3 different groups of people in this town. those who have never worked at the Council and have no first hand knowledge of the out of date working practices, systems, staff and ideas and the massive waste in resources that causes. those who have only ever worked at the council or other public sector organisation and have nothing to compare how they do things with and some who seriously think they are doing a good job but compared to their private sector equivalents they wouldn't even be close. And those who have worked in both the public and private sectors and are totally stunned by how the council is still in existence with its waste, inefficiencies, deadwood and lack of ideas and desire on how to change and improve. If the council wasnt this unique monopoly that is not only the only place you can go for these services but that everyone is forced by law to pay for it and had any sort of competition they would have gone bankrupt years ago. They don't need to cut services, they need to drag themselves into the 21st century with staff and working practices, get rid of Capita who are actually in reality more trouble than they are worth in the overall scheme of things and be accountable and responsible for the way they spend (waste) our money that we are forced by law to pay them. But then we have as much chance of that happening as England winning the World Cup! house on the hill
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Wed 25 Jun 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

jonelway wrote:
Get them OUT! Profit that Capita makes is my tax money not being spent on services. It's private profit. This is criminal!

I'm not denying that SBC couldn't make efficiency gains, but as soon as that money enters Capita pockets it is no longer tax money under the control of our elected. No matter what efficiency gains are made by Capita (if any) we are loosing money that could be spent on services to private profit. We are not benefiting from it and can never benefit from it.

And that's before I join other is saying how shocking bad Capita in delivering service.
yet you are perfectly happy to have a mountain of public debt in the hands of private banks, foreign governments and hedge funds, and therefore no longer in control of any elected representative......
and trust me public debt is a very very powerful leverage tool being played against us!
Don't you think you should try to care more about public debt rather than private outsourcing, Capita is not the part of the problem it is part of the solution
[quote][p][bold]jonelway[/bold] wrote: Get them OUT! Profit that Capita makes is my tax money not being spent on services. It's private profit. This is criminal! I'm not denying that SBC couldn't make efficiency gains, but as soon as that money enters Capita pockets it is no longer tax money under the control of our elected. No matter what efficiency gains are made by Capita (if any) we are loosing money that could be spent on services to private profit. We are not benefiting from it and can never benefit from it. And that's before I join other is saying how shocking bad Capita in delivering service.[/p][/quote]yet you are perfectly happy to have a mountain of public debt in the hands of private banks, foreign governments and hedge funds, and therefore no longer in control of any elected representative...... and trust me public debt is a very very powerful leverage tool being played against us! Don't you think you should try to care more about public debt rather than private outsourcing, Capita is not the part of the problem it is part of the solution A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -1

11:03am Sat 28 Jun 14

Shirley Burnham says...

How long has this replication of Services (in-house & Capita) been going on and how much money consequently down the drain? Here we are now, looking at imminent Library Service cuts when these could have been avoided - Let alone other frontline services that people similarly desperately need. A lot more than £2m should be "saved". What a mess.
How long has this replication of Services (in-house & Capita) been going on and how much money consequently down the drain? Here we are now, looking at imminent Library Service cuts when these could have been avoided - Let alone other frontline services that people similarly desperately need. A lot more than £2m should be "saved". What a mess. Shirley Burnham
  • Score: 1

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