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County to split outsource contract

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A county council has announced plans not to continue a large scale outsourcing contract in its current form and instead pursue a number of smaller deals with separate suppliers.

Lincolnshire CC is to break up an existing contract which includes back-office services including IT, HR, finance, property and catering when the current arrangement with Mouchel comes to an end in two years’ time in a bid to help smaller, local businesses.

While the majority of IT, HR and finance services will be bundled into a single contract to be bid for through competitive dialogue, a number of individual contracts will be created for various aspects of property services, catering and some specialist aspects of finance and HR.

Lincolnshire CC’s executive director for resources Pete Moore said the division of contracts would allow the council to make “the necessary savings as well as offer opportunities for SMEs that will help strengthen the local economy”.

He added: “The council has already carried out extensive market testing, which included initial conversations with potential suppliers. There was significant market support for our approach, particularly the bundling of services within the competitive dialogue.”

Lincolnshire’s decision to eschew all encompassing deals with a single supplier comes after similar decisions were made in Suffolk CC and Cornwall Council.

Lincolnshire’s executive member for finance and HR, Kelly Smith (Con), said the partnership with Mouchel since 2000 had “proved very successful” but “the world has changed considerably during the past decade, and we need to change with the times to make sure taxpayers are still getting the best value for money”.

As well as tighter budgets, Cllr Kelly said one of the council’s main goals was to support the local economy and workshops were to be run to make sure local businesses were aware of the forthcoming contracts.

“This more tailored approach will not only give us more flexibility, which is vital in the current financial climate, but will also create more opportunities for smaller suppliers,” he said.

John Sillitoe, Mouchel business services operations director, said the company would bid for the new contract due to start in 2015.

“We recognise that the local government landscape has changed significantly over the last few years and we have supported the council in adapting to those changes,” he said.

“However, we understand the need for the council to consider alternative procurement routes in order to provide flexible, tailored support services to the citizens of Lincolnshire. We believe Mouchel is both well prepared and well positioned to re-bid for these services.”

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