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MARKET REPORT

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Two left in bid for£1bn Westminster deal ...
Two left in bid for£1bn Westminster deal

Westminster City Council has selected two firms as preferred bidders to run its lucrative customer services contract.

The deal is estimated to be worth around£1bn. The short-listed companies are Capita and a consortium led by Vertex Data Sciences, which is owned by United Utilities.

A council spokesman said: 'The shortlist has been reduced to two and we are expecting the contract to be awarded in June. Staff will be fully consulted before any decision is made.'

Unions and staff are concerned about rumours that any deal could involve a call centre being set up outside London, but the council spokesman said staff and unions are being consulted 'every step of the way'.

He added: 'The interests of staff will be among our main concerns when awarding this contract, which will be judged on the quality of services and value for money.'

A spokeswoman for Capita confirmed the company is bidding for the contract.

Camden pilots plan with hays

Camden LBC is piloting a scheme with recruitment company Hays which aims to transform the council's finance department.

The contract will be put out to tender if it is successful and achieves its aims of producing the 'next generation of finance staff'.

The decision to involve Hays follows a best value review which suggested the council come up with a recruitment strategy.

A spokesman for the council said: 'We didn't have the necessary skills to focus our recruitment.'

Byers to decide tube's destiny

Local government secretary Stephen Byers is expected to announce the fate of London's Underground next week.

The government is expected to hand some control to London mayor Ken Livingstone, while allowing private firms to run part of the network.

The decision will be based on conclusions drawn from a value-for-money report from accountants Ernst & Young (LGC, 10 January).

Hants lights up electricity deal

Hampshire CC has awarded a street lighting contract worth more than£20m to Southern Electric Contracting.

The firm is the largest within the Southern and Scottish Energy Contracting Group.

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