Council names successful company set to provide range of council services

Burnley Council has announced its intention to award a ten year contract worth £34m to Liberata.

The company will begin providing a range of council services from next January, in an arrangement which will lead to:

  • 19 per cent savings on the transferred services over the life of the contract – around £ 8 million
  • £4.9 million inward investment in Information Technology, a Service Hub, innovation in the ways services are delivered, and support for community projects.
  • Over 100 good quality new jobs coming into Burnley town centre over the first five years of the contract

The decision results from the major ‘change programme’ Burnley Council has been running since April 2014. The services which will transfer are Customer Services and Information Technology services; Revenues, Benefits and Debt Management; Payroll and Human Resources systems; Asset and Facility Management services; and Environmental Health and Licensing.

The council executive made its decision following a Town Hall meeting which reviewed the procurement exercise and the detailed consideration of the bids received, and discussed how the bid identified as “the most economically advantageous” compared to the option of the services being continued as direct council (in-house) services.

Smooth transition planned

Council leader Mark Townsend said: “We are delighted to be awarding this contract to Liberata, as they bring opportunities for growth into the borough at a time of government austerity measures.

“We are taking this step to respond positively to the challenges that we face. Burnley Council is acting in line with its responsibility to provide the best possible services to residents, in spite of major reductions to our funding.

“Since 2010, the council has taken a range of steps to protect key services as well as dealing with the financial situation. We have made significant job cuts. We have positively explored options to work with other organisations, for example through setting up Burnley Leisure as a charitable trust.

“Bringing in a strategic partner is a new approach, which will make the council look and feel radically different.

“Key points are that the council remains responsible for the services; that Burnley residents will continue to receive the services being transferred; and these will be delivered by people with local knowledge.

“Services will develop and change. We will be improving the ways people can access their services and do business with the council online. As this happens, we are absolutely committed to a smooth transition, both in the way that people receive their services, and for the 120 employees affected.

“Liberata has the objective of retaining jobs, skills and talent in Burnley and is looking to grow jobs and services in our borough. For many of the current council employees working in the services which form part of the contract, who will transfer with terms and conditions protected, this will mean new opportunities.”

“We are delighted to have been selected by Burnley Council as a strategic partner to transform and run a range of council services. Key to enabling Burnley Council to meet its strategic objectives will be service innovation and digital transformation. We have a demonstrable track record in enabling our clients to drive down costs, while at the same time improve both the citizen and employee experience of critical services,” said Charlie Bruin, Managing Director Business Process Services, Liberata. “We’d like to welcome the council’s transferring employees to Liberata and together we look forward to delivering a first class experience to the council and citizens across Burnley.”

Helen Seechurn, the council’s director of resources, said: “By working with a few strategic partners who share our vision for the borough and who provide capacity, bring innovation and inward investment, we aim to bring about service efficiency and cost improvements whilst achieving our priorities”.

Background and further information

Like many councils throughout the country, Burnley Council faces big financial challenges.

Since 2010, the council has seen unprecedented government funding reductions of £ 8 million, representing over 50 per cent of core funding. There has been a consequential impact on the council workforce, resulting in staffing reductions of 145 full time equivalent posts, or 30 per cent.

Burnley Council’s current medium term financial strategy assumes the need to save a minimum of around £ 2 million, or 14 per cent, over the next two years out of a current total annual budget of approximately £ 16 million. In July 2015, the Chancellor announced the need for the public sector to find further savings, with detailed announcements about how this will affect particular sectors expected in November.

See how Liberata can help your organisation.

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As a Council we are focused on ensuring that the services delivered are both sustainable and of the highest quality. We are delighted to be working with Liberata to help deliver these services on behalf of our residents and businesses. Liberata stood out with its ability to drive transformational change and improve customer access and digital services.
Richard Baker
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Liberata is the ideal delivery partner to help us achieve our aims, whilst ensuring we can drive down processing times and improve the service for our customers. Council tax and business rates collection will improve, ensuring that we have the funds to deliver the vital services that have a positive impact on residents’ lives. We look forward to working closely in partnership with Liberata to help achieve our aims
Rebecca Keene
Broxbourne Borough Council
Eastleigh Borough Council has worked with Liberata for a number of years who undertake the council's empty home reviews, and I must say, their service exceeded all expectations. From start to finish, they demonstrated professionalism, efficiency, and a genuine commitment to addressing this critical issue in our community. Thanks to Liberata, the council has been able to maximise our empty home bonus year on year. This positive impact on our community cannot be overstated.
Kerrie Thomas
Eastleigh Borough Council
The RV Finder service from Liberata has really helped us ensure that our data is as accurate as possible and, when the VOA has processed the outstanding cases, I fully expect to see more than £1,000,000 of additional RV. The “risk and reward” model works well and the Council only has to pay for their success and the service is something that we will use on a regular basis.
Steve King
Leicester City Council
Liberata has been empowered to create a seamless integration with technology to digitally transform the Revenues and Benefits service whilst trying to protect local jobs. The joint strategy has helped to deliver innovative solutions that have exceeded expectations, whilst providing savings to the authority. This surge in digital engagement has helped deliver strong year one outturn with electronic billing and the technology will enable us to show improvements in the benefits speed of processing and in Council Tax processing of moves, discounts and exemptions.
Andy Stevens
Swindon Borough Council