The proposed eight-year deal has already sparked huge interest among key industry players, helping to alleviate fears that outsourcing is in decline as the credit required for upfront investments dries up for private sector operators.
One senior consultant said: “This is a huge deal and I would expect all the main players to be bidding. There are a lot of conversations going on as people try to work out what the winning combination for a consortium bid could be.
“While the announcement bucks current outsourcing trends, Essex’s size and proximately to London make this a very appealing deal.”
The deal would see a range of services outsourced, including business consulting and IT improvements. A council spokesman said: “We are putting the invitation out, but a deal will not happen unless we are completely satisfied that it will deliver on the scale we want.”
Essex has pledged to make£200m of efficiency savings over the next three years. The council said it would make a decision by March on the contract.
Figures submitted to the Official Journal of the European Union state it would be worth between£2.3bn and£5.4bn.