Cornwall Council Shared Services: Companies with a shadowy past

The Cabinet’s recent decision (I would like to say folly) to start the process of Invite to Tenders (ItT) with two companies, British Telecom and Computer Science Corporation (CSC), both multi-billion pound companies. But how much do we really understand about these companies. Do they have any skeletons in their wardrobe? Well, Computer Science Corporation has one or two.

A little digging around on the internet for research on other councils who have gone down the process of shared services, I came upon Reprieve. A few clicks on their webpage and I came across an article on CSC. In that article it shows a company brought by CSC  became involved with the renditions, secret detention and torture programme through its purchase of DynCorp in March 2003. Reading this, I let out a few expletives. The link to the whole article is HERE.

Granted this was many years ago, and from the Reprieve article, CSC sold DynCorp in 2004.  However, again in the article, CSC continued dealing with security organisations until 2006. You could argue this was a long-time ago and has no relevance to the possibility of Cornwall Council going into ‘partnership’ with this company.

The real worrying part of it all, and should be of concern to Cornwall Council, is CSC stance when Reprieve wrote to them in March 2012 asking them to sign a Zero Tolerance for Torture Pledge. Sadly, CSC has refused to do this, and sent a letter to confirm this.

So if Cornwall picks CSC as the preferred suppler of  providing services, the council could find the company it is in partnership with takes an active part in renditions, secret detention and torture.  It certainly take the whole argument of ethical investment to a whole new level! In fact a whole new stratosphere!

My question is; does Cornwall Council know about CSC past. Furthermore,  what inquiries/investigations has Cornwall Council carried out to make sure the council is protected from any fallout ‘if’ CSC gets involved again with renditions? If Cornwall Council knew, why have Councillors not been informed? As from the paperwork I have read, there is no mention of anything like this!

A huge and special thank go to Reprieve for their good work in highlighting this issue!

2 comments

  • Dear Cllr Wallis

    The problem is that this is not a shared service, it is an outsourcing activity and should be called that.

    There is no invitation to tender in a shared service. It would be impossibly for one of these organsiations to be appointed without a procurement activity and invitation to tender.

    You may find our library of over 600 shared service public sector documents useful as you develop your arguement.

    Kind regards

    Dominic

  • S

    You may be interested in the article below about another failing Council Joint Venture….

    http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240162547/Somerset-Council-braces-for-lawsuit-from-Southwest-One-shared-service-venture?asrc=EM_EDA_18595870

    Most interesting quotes from the article below…is this the future for Cornwall Shared Services?…

    “But the organisation had also counted on bringing other local authorities in on the venture, only to find none where interested.”

    “While Somerset has been taking services back in-house from Southwest One, its model is being replicated in other areas of the public sector, with London Metropolitan University seeking to form a joint venture with an IT company that will also depend on procurement and efficiency savings and persuading other universities to replace their own back-offices with its rented services.”

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