19 November 2004
Thurrock Council in Essex is to outsource ten of its key services to customer management company Vertex in a £427m, 15-year strategic partnership.
Under the deal, which takes effect in April, Thurrock's core corporate services will be transferred to the company, including administration, customer services and procurement.
It will transfer 600 staff to Vertex, which will make up the heart of the company's new regional centre to be based in Grays, Essex.
Garry Hague, deputy leader of the authority, told Public Finance that the new Conservative administration, which took over in June, speeded up the deal to improve its services. The council is rated 'weak' in the Comprehensive Performance Assessments.
Hague added that the partnership was not about making cuts and they had factored in no cashable savings. 'We are paying no more than we would have paid to our own staff. This is about a delivery revolution, and services are delivered better by a specialist organisation.'
The contract is worth £16.3m annually over 15 years, a total of £244.5m. The rest of the overall value of the £427m deal, around £182.5m, will come from new 'business cases' and consultancy from Vertex, Hague said.
The company will be able to offer new business to the council while it advises on reprocessing its remaining services, although Thurrock will not be obliged to accept the new cases, Hague said. Vertex will also spend £10m on an information technology upgrade.
The strategic partnership is similar to the deal Vertex signed with Westminster City Council in 2002. However, this was mired by rows over employment rights and plans to transfer staff to other areas.
Thurrock said staff will be staying in the area and will be transferred on the same terms and conditions and with full pension rights.