Oldham Council is proposing a £170m – £260m ten-year Strategic Service Delivery Partnership contract which will transfer property, highways, information and communication technology, customer and exchequer services to a Joint Venture Company (JVC) formed with a group of private contractors. The Council proposes to transfer, rather than second, about 350 council staff to the JVC. A potential second phase of the project would include the transfer of human resources, payroll, financial services and administration to the JVC.
The report concludes that:
The Council is embarked on a high risk strategy – 14% of SSDP projects in other local authorities have failed.
The job creation figures are highly questionable, many are not new jobs because they are part of planned major infrastructure projects in Oldham and Mouchel Parkman’s plan is to create a monopoly supply of professional and technical services.
Despite the rhetoric, the contribution of the SSDP to community cohesion is minimal.
The regeneration effect of a Business Centre is overstated.
The SSDP will make a very limited contribution to Oldham’s economy.
The SSDP is designed to meet the needs of the market rather than the strategic social and economic needs of Oldham – a point admitted by the Council’s advisers, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Value for money has not been proved.
The SSDP is likely to weaken rather than strengthen the capability and sustainability of Oldham Council and there appears to have been little debate on these issues.
By opting for the transfer rather than secondment of staff the Council is burdening its employees with the risk of changes to terms and conditions and pensions.