By Tony Collins
CSC has withdrawn from an outsourcing/joint venture bid at Cornwall council after the leader of the authority was ousted yesterday in a vote of no confidence.
The vote of the full council removed Conservative leader Alec Robertson who was a strong advocate of outsourcing a range of council services including IT to BT or CSC.
Originally the council’s cabinet – without recourse to the full council - planned to sign a contract worth between £210m and £800m in November. After a public petition of more than 5,000 signatures against the deal, the matter will now be put to the full council next week for a decision.
Conservative Jim Currie, who resigned from the cabinet in opposition to the deal, has taken Robertson’s place as leader of the council. But in an interview with regional BBC TV he did not rule out outsourcing and said he would be looking at the facts.
Indeed he told thisiscornwall.co.uk that the bid was not dead in the water. “Never say never,” he said. “It might be an option of last resort.” He added: “We are not galloping forward with it at any great haste.”
It’s expensive for BT and CSC to maintain bid teams if they think no deal will be signed. But it is highly unlikely they would have any claim on the council for their legal and other costs should the tender be withdrawn.
Speaking on BBC Radio Cornwall, Neil Burden, Currie’s deputy, said: “One of the bidders no longer wants to engage with Cornwall Council because of what happened yesterday.”
To that Currie, said: “I can’t tell you anything at all about that. That is part of negotiations that are going on. I am sure things will emerge today, and all will be revealed later.”
Councillor Andrew Wallis has now reported on his website that at a briefing on the outsourcing bids he learned that CSC has withdrawn following the ousting of the leader Alec Robertson yesterday.
BT, it appears, is putting a renewed effort into the bid, as if nothing had happened at the full council meeting yesterday.
Cornwall says in a statement on its website:
“The Council is disappointed that CSC has made the decision to withdraw from the procurement for a Strategic Partnership for Support Services. The Council would like to thank CSC for their involvement in the programme over the last year and their interest in working with Cornwall Council.