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.