BT’s Tender Accepted by Cabinet

This is probably going to be my last post on the JV as the Cabinet has approved the tender received by BT. All the Cabinet Members apart from one (Bert Biscoe) approved the deal. The meeting today has brought to the end aIt a long, emotive, and fraught process.

I will say I am pleased the Cabinet meeting today and the information surrounding the bid was all done in open session. It might bring some confidence back in to the process of partnership working.

The report can be found HERE. This includes the actual savings and job that will and hoped to be created.

As for the jobs, the deal will create 197 new (guaranteed) jobs by end of year 4 and 313 new jobs to be delivered through reasonable endeavours by end of year 5. I am told the term reasonable endeavours has legal meeting, but for me, it still sounds wishy-washy.

The number of staff “in scope” and transferred to BT is 282 full time equivalent (FTE) council employees (132 in Information Services, 76 in Shared Services, 46 in document management and 28 in Telecare). Formal consultation with employees is planned to start in April 2013. I am there will be some nervous staff wanting to know how they will fit into this new utopia.

However, this new utopia might have a sting in the tail on jobs. As 52 jobs have been identified to go by the end of year 4. There is a contractual commitment for most impacted staff to be re-deployed, but that sounds like nothing more than a false-hope.

Anyway the deed is done, and I just hope it will not turn into the disaster like so many other council’s joint ventures up and down the land.


  • worried worker

    Thanks for trying Andrew, and thanks to the 5000+ people who signed the petition to try and make the council see sense, plus the various publications who’ve reported on the farce that is BT and everyone who commented on this and other blogs against the deal.

    A big thanks also to Mick Martyn, who wanted this deal to go ahead because he feared not doing so would alter some of the services he recieves from the council. Alas, this deal going ahead WILL slow him down as I’ll be in front of him in the dole queue, I’ll be on the pc he wants to use in the library looking for job, I (and 51 others) might even be going for the jobs he applies for. Good luck Mick, may the best man win 🙂

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  • Beware the Ides of Somerset

    Things run well and efficiently now at Cornwall Council. How can BT guarantee 197 jobs, invest more (Trading investment in bidding for new work – £1.9m plus £7.8m investment in transformation), make savings (£17.4m over 10 years) and run services more efficiently – and make a profit?

    The Council says that BT will invest £157.5m in the partnership over 10 years, excluding an additional £16m spent outside Cornwall trying to win bids. The cabinet was told in a report that BT has made an “excellent offer”. But is it too good to be true?

    It may be that all but one of Cornwall’s cabinet councillors, perhaps encouraged by council officers, have been naive. I hope I am proved wrong.

    I do hope that BT didn’t employ that old (double glazing) sales trick of guaranteeing a price if deal signed before the end of March?

    I struggle to understand that this deal could not wait 8-10 weeks for a new Council and a proper mandate.

    Or were the deal proponents in the Council worried that a new Council might not be so keen to privatise valued in-house services?

    Beware the Ides of Cornwall in 3-5 years time?

    The grass is defintely greener in New Zealand!

  • Despondent Worker

    Despondent Worker’s word of the day…

    plutocracy (pluːˈtɒkrəsɪ)



    (plural) -cies

    1. the rule or control of society by the wealthy
    2. a state or government characterized by the rule of the wealthy
    3. a class that exercises power by virtue of its wealth

    -Collins English Dictionary

    Just to echo worried worker’s sentiment – I’d like to express my thanks to Andrew and everyone else who tried. I should also make the effort to contact Bert for the same reason.

  • Terry Reed

    Interesting how democracy works (or doesn’t as the case may be!).

    If the deal seems too good to be true – it most likely is.

    I’ve been involved in Outsourcing deals in the Private Sector.

    The way the Outsourcer trys and make savings, while at the same time make profits, is by looking at cutting costs and improving efficiency. I have no idea what supplier’s infrastructure and Telecoms’ and It Services are used by the Council, but rest assured – it will get moved to BT’s Technology Platform. If there are multiple servers used at the Council offices – they will be replaced by BT’s Centralised Server farm to provide hosted services somewhere “up country”. They will rely on “economy of scale” to achieve savings and efficiencies.

    Staff will be transferred according to TUPE rules – i.e. they will be entitled to same salary and benefits as if they were working directly for the Council. However, this does not mean that they will get increases in salaries or benefits each year, and after a suitbale period of time, their terms and conditions can get changed.

    I too am not sure where the extra jobs are coming from.

    Terry Reed
    MD and Senior Telecoms/IT Consultant
    MarTel Associates Ltd

  • Fed up worker

    Thanks Andrew for keeping us informed on the bid, we’ve learnt more from your blog than from our own management – 123 IT staff affected by the bid were formally told by email about the outcome of the bid by their management at 11am today, 23hours after your post and reports in the press (read into that what you will but my take is that its piss-poor management).

    This wont be good for the people of Cornwall, the only winner will be BT.

    What will the councillors who voted for this have to say in a few years time when this turns into the disaster we all fear?

  • P*****d off worker

    The majority of the councillors don’t care when it goes to pot and don’t understand what they have commited into and have ignored all the horror stories from other examples. I can’t put the words what I feel on here! The only workers I know that were ever keen on this were the ones in the call centre for obvious reasons!

  • Despondent Worker

    Interesting comment Terry – thanks.

    “If there are multiple servers used at the Council offices – they will be replaced by BT’s Centralised Server farm to provide hosted services somewhere “up country”.”

    This is the truly unnerving bit, in my view.

    Disregarding the legal or political issues, let us assume we are x years into the future and the whole joint venture has reached the inevitable armageddon stage. What happens if Cornwall Council admit the mistake (unlikely – granted) and want to bring ISG back in-house? Who actually owns the data stored on BT’s servers? Will we end up with some manner of data hostage-crisis? How accommodating are BT going to be if the implementation is happening in the other direction? Not very – I’ll bet.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself – this is all assuming ISG have managed to dig enough hard-drives out of landfill to build a server or two…

  • Beware the Ides of Somerset

    IBM made exactly the same improbable claims in 2007 prior to signing Somerset up for Southwest One.

    5 years later in 2013:

    – Fewer local Council jobs
    – No new private jobs
    – No promised iconic building for a SW1 HQ (an empty demolition “bomb” site in the town centre where it was meant to be built)
    – No new business or revenue
    – Procurement contracts now out of County & SW Region
    – Business apparently unprofitable – SW1 has made losses in every year of trading, requiring parent company guarantees and for Councils to indemnify the Councillors who are Directors on the SW1 Board
    – No true net savings made for Councils (in fact higher net/true costs)
    – All new or changed IT requirements to support change are an add-on cost said to be “holding Somerset Council back through inflexibility”
    – No IT replacement costed into the contract, so now a 6+ year old ageing & risky IT infrastructure (see risk log extract from this week below)
    – Local Council IT skills degraded and key SAP skills offshored to India degrading Councils’ contract exit ability
    – High Court contract dispute to be heard in November – broken relationships, no mutual trust or respect
    – Many service (KPI- measured) levels lower (see internal audit extract from this week below) as an inadequately resourced & skilled contract management client in Councils cannot verify the service levels measured & reported by SW1 (on themselves).

    March 2013 Risk 7 ICT Infrastructure Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) has an ageing ICT infrastructure (95% is over 6 years old) and a replacement of key elements is well overdue. A risk of significant failure of key servers and/or internal networks. Risk score 15 (Red)

    March 2013 Risk 14 Southwest One partnership SW1 is sustaining significant losses & one of the partners has renegotiated significant elements of their contract with SW1. There is a risk of the SW1 partnership failing to deliver Taunton Deane Borough Council objectives, and/or a premature termination of the contract. Southwest One partnership SW1 is sustaining significant losses & one of the partners has renegotiated significant elements of their contract with SW1. There is a risk of the SW1 partnership failing to deliver TDBC objectives, and/or a premature termination of the contract. Risk score 10 (Amber expected to be re-assessed Red).

    March 2013 TDBC Internal Audit: Southwest One (SW1) Contract Monitoring – There is no independent verification on the accuracy of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) results.There is a risk that inaccurate data is reported which could financially disadvantage the Council.

    I still don’t understand why waiting a matter of just weeks, for a newly elected Council to endorse & own the contract and more importantly the relationship with BT, was an issue?

    If BT had waited from October to March, what was a few weeks more in a 2-year procurement process? Would anyone enlighten me please – just for the sake of a fellow SW observer of your joint venture procurement journey?

    For the sake of Cornwall’s impoverished local economy & for decently-waged jobs, I really do hope that BT are able to deliver all or most of the above, where IBM and so many others (Capita, Liberata etc) have failed (BT themselves in Suffolk Council recently).

    As I am a BT shareholder in a modest self-invested ISA (for their broadband and YouView prospects & not for their troubled consultancy division), then I hope that BT remains profitable; their first loyalty and key objective will (quite rightly) be to make good returns to investors (probably including your own Council pension fund) through dividends from profits.

    You might arrange for some Cornish pixie dust to be sprinkled on the contract at the signing ceremony (it will 1,000s of pages long, so stock up on the pixie dust now), to help the “circle” of greater investment, better service, more jobs and substantial savings, with profitable business for BT, to be “squared”.

    Best of luck (will watch with interest as no-one else in the UK has ever pulled this off),

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