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North Tyneside Council trading standards to be taken over by external provider

A meeting of North Tyneside Council's Cabinet has confirmed the preferred bidders to take forward two packages of council services - delivering value for money for taxpayers and securing jobs.

Balfour Beatty has been selected as the preferred partner for the business package which incorporates finance, procurement, revenues and benefits, ICT, Customer Services and Human Resources.

And Capita Symonds is agreed as the preferred partner for a second technical package that incorporates property services, planning, engineering services and consumer protection and environmental health services.

The decision is subject to contractual and legal processes set down by European procurement guidelines and requires a ten working day 'standstill' period before contracts are formally signed.

North Tyneside's Elected Mayor, Mrs Linda Arkley said: "The partnership with external providers is the best solution for the council, its taxpayers, its staff and the borough.

"I would like to pay tribute to all the bidders for their high quality bids and their commitment to work with us to achieve the best solution for North Tyneside.

"The partnership options we have selected are by far the most advantageous for North Tyneside. They will enable the council to invest in services, safeguard employee jobs and deliver further growth and investment for the borough, as well as achieve the stringent efficient targets we have set."

North Tyneside Council's Change Efficiency and Improvement Programme set the organisation a target of achieving £47million of efficiencies over four years to meet the challenge of having 28 percent less resources available in a challenging global economic environment.

It was agreed that the council could not achieve this without driving forward in a new direction and fundamentally changing how it delivered services.

Sharing services with neighbouring authorities was ruled out as it would not have delivered the level of savings required, and an in-house option would have resulted in the loss of over 300 jobs and significant reduction in services.

In November last year, a procurement programme was begun to find the best partners to deliver the council's key objectives throughout the process. These are:

- Investment in the services affected by the project
- Job protection for the existing workforce
- Growth opportunities for the services to create additional jobs in the borough in the future
- The achievement of at least £4.9million of financial efficiencies in the first three years of the partnership and ongoing efficiencies thereafter.
- Improved performance of the services

The decision will see the TUPE transfer of 420 employees to the partner for the business package, and 335 staff to the technical package partner. A further 58 full-time equivalent employees will be seconded to the successful technical package bidder to enable the council to fulfil its statutory duties for planning, environmental health and licensing.

The contract is for an initial term of ten years with an extension for a further five years provided the partnership continues to deliver value for money and improved performance. It will see partner employees co-located in the council's existing offices, resulting in further efficiencies for North Tyneside Council.

As well as delivering value for money and continued service delivery for borough residents, the new partnerships will be seeking to create further jobs in the borough in the future as the partners grow their business in the North East and beyond.

And there may be benefits for local businesses as there will be greater flexibility for the private sector partners to procure local providers to deliver services.

Terry Woodhouse, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty Living Places said: "Balfour Beatty is delighted to have been awarded the Business Services partnership for North Tyneside Council. We are dedicated and focused on delivering effective, efficient, sustainable and customer focused services in an environment committed to flexible delivery, innovation and staff development."

Graham Cowley, Chief Operating Officer, Capita Symonds, said: "We look forward to working with the council over the next 15 years to deliver real value and improved services to North Tyneside communities. Our partnership presents us with exciting opportunities for development, growth and job creation in the region."

For more information please contact the North Tyneside Oouncil media team on  0191 643 2211.