New deal aims to save council money

This Is Wiltshire: Labour leader Jim Grant Labour leader Jim Grant

THE council is set to renegotiate a deal with the company which provides its back office services in a bid to save millions of pounds.

In 2007, a 15-year deal was signed with Capita but now talks are under way to alter the terms of this agreement following a change in circumstance and tighter budgets.

The multi-million pound deal means Capita provides services such as IT support as well as run the call centre.

Talks are currently taking place before any change to the contract goes before cabinet later in the year. The council wants to re-negotiate the contract to avoid duplication of services after Swindon Commercial Services was brought back in house.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council is continually reviewing all services in light of the continued pressure on its finances, the need for increasing flexibility in how it operates, and the desire to design services that work best for our customers and residents.

“Following the transfer of services back to the council from SCS, the council recognises that it has some similar support services in three different places.

“They are within its strategic partnership with Capita, at Waterside supporting services formerly run by SCS, and within the council itself.

“As a result, Capita and the council are currently developing a proposal for elected members to consider in the coming weeks about how to integrate support services more effectively.”

While details as to what will change in the contract have yet to be established, there is the possibility of job losses from within Capita.

The company has confirmed it has entered into talks with the council and will keep staff informed on how they progress.

A 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 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.”

The move has been welcomed by the opposition Labour Group, although they feel it could have been done earlier.

Labour Group Leader Jim Grant said: “If the council’s plan is to reintegrate more services Capita currently provides back within the council in order to make savings we would be very supportive of that. “However, if the Conservative Group believes, as Labour does, that there are savings to be made by reintegrating many of the back-office functions Capita currently provide within the council, why has it taken them so long to do this? “Frontline services could have been prolonged had they taken the decision to do this years ago.”

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