Cornwall Council and then a Unison JV Report

With just six days to go until the full membership of Cornwall Council meet, the report that will decide the if the BT outsourcing deal is supported or another option like the in-house has been released. It is a large report of 134 pages and includes a few pages of confidential information. That report can be found HERE. I have only read parts, as I only got it a few hours ago, but when I do, I will be able to tell if the report is full of spin and estimates or actual facts. The full council agenda can be found HERE

However, this is not the only report on the options and proposals. The union Unison has commissioned two reports of  its own. One has been done by the association of public service excellence (APSE). The consultant who is  undertaking the report is herself  a lawyer specialising in procurement matters and previously worked for a local authority so is very experienced in these matters. It is also good to hear the council have been very helpful in assisting with this review and APSE have had access to all the relevant documentation with the exception of the options appraisal on possible “in-house” alternatives.

The other report is from an independent market research company to test staff opinions within the council and particularly of those staff who will be affected by the BT deal. The survey will be done to industry standards and will be wholly independent of Unison. This study will hopefully be available Friday morning. This has come about because the council’s own survey is has no option to simply vote for only one option and if you wish to complete the survey you have to express a view about all options, a little akin to the transferable vote system. Even if your first choice is ‘undecided’. I mean if you are undecided, you are hardly wanting to vote for other options. The council survey just smacks of gerrymandering.

For me, it is going to be interesting to see if there are any differences between the report. Though that is if I am allowed to see the APSE report, as no doubt being allowed so much access, I am sure some sort of confidential agreement had to be signed. If the evidence from the council is to be fully believed, they should be similar in their findings. If not, then there will be some very interesting questions that will need to be answered.

I hope the non-council report will also be available as that way Councillors and the public will get a chance to compare and come to their own conclusions. Anyway, there is going to be a lot of reading in the next few days.



  • mick martyn

    134 pages! i trust the majority of councillors will be taking it electronically to the meeting, if not i know where savings can be made!

    Happy reading Andrew, looking forward to your next spin re why turning down jobs guarantees, savings guarantees, performance gurantees, libraries and one stop shops not closing guarantees is the way to go.

    reading the report myself the new option of a slimmed down version looks very interesting indeed.

  • Andrew Wallis

    Yes, that’s just one report for the whole council agenda. Which includes Core Strategy and the options of governance models for the next council. So lots of reading. And yes, I get all my paperwork apart from Licensing Hearing paperwork electronically. Have done for years.

  • Gill Martin

    Why do BT waste so much money. I receive a letter by post
    every single day, yes, every day, offering me broadband, my postman
    must be fed up delivering them, I am certainly fed up receiving
    them, this has gone on for months. Is this company really a
    suitable option for involvement with.

  • Beware the Ides of Somerset

    Tell Mick:

    These are slick sales promises from the supplier and should not be confused with what will actually happen once a contract is signed.

    Just ask the poor(er) people of Somerset where hardly any of the promised savings have been made by IBM/SWOne; jobs have been lost not created; no new business; no dividends; IT skills offshored to India and now a legal case where Somerset County Council is being sued by its own Strategic Partner SWOne!

    Beware the Ides of Somerset and Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Liverpool, Birmingham – where every Joint Venture has failed to meet pre-contract promises made!

    Mick – Real stories from real places – no spin!

  • mick martyn

    beware the ides of Somerset…what doom and gloom you
    paint, the negative press around Liverpool, Suffolk etc are based
    on local rag ‘hearsays’…is that really why both have extended
    their contracts with BT??? You also fail to mention Sandwell and
    Edinburgh, 2 other succesful BT partnerships and as for SW1 well
    looking at the construct of that contract, the timing of it and all
    it was expected to deliver by a company with little knowledge of
    Local Government it was never going to suceed. Also interesting
    that some members are now pinning their hopes on a poor union
    report and staff ballot even if the cornwall councill staff one is
    positive, hmmmm probably less than 50% of staff are in the union –
    a fair representation?!? …still waiting for any of the doom
    mongers to tell me where all the savings are going to come from if
    this deal is doomed, dont forget the govt said they were cutting
    LAA budgets by an additional 2% in 14/15….dont worry i’m sure the
    powers that be will raid their money tree.

  • Beware the Ides of Somerset

    Mick – Typical of an idealogue to dismiss any negative
    reports as “local rag hearsay”. There are official reports by the
    Councils concerned in the public domain:
    The reason why most Councils extend even unhappy outsourcing
    contracts, is that once outsourced there is literally no way back
    other than to keep on outsourcing. Or the cost of reinstatement is
    so high that it is prohibitive (as Somerset found out – said to
    cost £15m to full re-internalise this April). Smart &
    successful companies like Sainsburys, Asda & AXA have taken
    IT back in house from outsourcers because the lack of control
    & flexibility of an outsource based on a complex contract
    was un-commercial & detrimental to profitability. Even BT
    are in-sourcing again:
    It is good that you can so easily dismiss Somerset as unlikely ever
    to succeed from the outset, when every councillor and every party
    and every consultant brought in and the Audit Commission bought
    into the extravagent savings claims (that are now being made in
    Cornwall). Did they lack your 20/20 hindsight perhaps? People just
    like you thought they were clever enough to sign a complex contract
    and match up to a large multinational company and come out ahead.
    The statistical odds on the Conrwall outsource with BT going wrong
    are, on evidence of other joint ventures, around 75%. Beware the
    Ides of Somerset etc….. NB I am not a member of any political
    party or a trades union.

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