‘Nominal fee’ agreed to end Liverpool ICT joint venture

Liverpool City Council has finalised the deal which will see it take full control of the joint venture with BT which provided its ICT services – at virtually no cost.

In February the council voted to end its Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL) joint venture arrangement with BT after negotiations over a reduction in the contract price ended in stalemate.

Negotiations between over the transfer price have now concluded, allowing the council to gain BT’s 60 per cent share in the company for a nominal fee and without penalty charges.

A spokesman for the council was unable to confirm the exact amount it paid, but said: “I imagine the price will be as low as £1 or £10.”

A clause in the original contract had meant that either party could face paying penalty charges for breaking the contract, but these have been waived by BT.

Established in 2001, LDL provides ICT infrastructure for the council, along with finance, HR and benefits services. It will remain a standalone company, but become owned wholly by the council.

In autumn last year, both parties began negotiations over the contract cost against a backdrop of the council aiming to achieve overall budget savings of £156 million.

During the discussions, BT agreed a price reduction of £5 million in each of the next two financial years, but the city council said that this was not enough, and voted to exit the partnership.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said yesterday: “We are very grateful to BT for their continued support.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said: “We have enjoyed a long and successful partnership with BT through LDL, which has brought commercial expertise, service transformation and resources to the city. The staff of LDL have worked tirelessly on behalf of the citizens of Liverpool.”

The implementation of the new arrangements will take place over the following three months, with the transfer of ownership scheduled for 1 July.

Colin Marrs

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