Social and Economic Audit: Oldham Strategic Service Delivery Partnership

Assesses Oldham’s planned PPP Strategic Partnership and shows that the project falls well short of the targets and claims made for community cohesion, regeneration and job creation. Oldham Council is proposing a £170m – £260m ten-year Strategic 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. 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. The regeneration effect of a Business Centre is overstated. The project is designed to meet the needs of the market rather than the strategic social and economic needs of Oldham – a point conceded by the Council’s advisers, PricewaterhouseCoopers.