doc

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.”