Friday, 29 March 2013

Value for money @ Somerset

The day I started my local election campaign, news has come from Somerset County Council and the partnership with Southwest One.

The relationship between Somerset County Council and Southwest One has not been productive for the people of our County or our Town. There has been a continual running dispute between the council and the IBM backed Southwest One.

The deal between Somerset County Council and Southwest One was signed by the Liberal Democrat in their last term in charge of Somerset, the idea was to allow a multi national company running council services has proved to be a poor decision.

One of Southwest One's objective was to; improve and reduce the cost of corporate, transactional and support services, the Council has been in dispute because the partnership was failing to deliver on the promised savings,

The legal dispute between Somerset CC and Southwest One has now been settled, the cost to the Council tax payer is a cool £2million in legal fees and the Council has signed a confidentiality clause so we are not to be told what the financial settlement is, although the Conservative leader of the Council John Osman says the settlement sum is "lower than a fifth" of £25m.

The Liberal Democrats clearly failed to negotiate a good deal for the Council Tax payer, there have been very real problems with the contract since the agreement was signed, it was completely inflexibility and allowed the multi national company to make money and not pass sufficient savings to the Council.

This whole affair between South West One and Somerset County Council should be a warning that the drive towards privatisation and outsourcing is not the complete solution and should be viewed extremely closely or like this case, it will end badly for the Council Tax payer.

This sorry tale tells us that there is little difference between a Liberal Democrat Council and a Conservative Council, I want a Council that is driven by public service and not profit, the millions wasted on this affair could of been used for vital services that have been cut .


  1. Agree with all said here, but on the road to Damascus....

    No mention here that so called "Strategic Partnerships" were New Labour party policy even though this is just a fancy name for outsourcing & privatisation.

    Nor is there any mention of the Labour Councillor Andrew Govier's oversight role as Chair of the key Scrutiny Committee at Somerset County Council.

    Cllr. Govier supported the contract with US-multinational for SW One and is on record saying that "it was the only game in town"....

    1. My blog is a personal view and happy to publish any comment.

      My experience of private companies in local government is not great and I'm not sure the suggested benefits are ever arrived at.