Councils scrap shared ICT services company

Two councils in Cheshire are to abandon a shared finance and ICT outsourcing partnership less than 18 months after it was established.

The decision to take services back in house has been taken following an independent review which examined the price being charged by the CoSocius company – owned by Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

A meeting of a shared services committee has decided that ICT services will now be provided by Cheshire East, while finance and transactional HR services will be provided by Cheshire West and Chester.

Louise Gittins, deputy leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and committee member, said: “CoSocius has had a number of notable successes, however, we are constantly reviewing the service to ensure we get best value for money for our council tax payers.

Dave Hudson, managing director of CoSocius, said “The committee acknowledged that CoSocius had made progress in a number of areas and contributed to the success of other areas of both councils, however the changing environment meant that many aspects of the company’s original agreed business plan had needed revisiting.”

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Around 330 staff working for CoSocius will transfer to one of the two councils from April 2016 or sooner.

Gittins said: “Staff who transfer to one of the two councils will be protected and services will now be delivered in-house with a shared arrangement to ensure value for money.”

In 2011, a performance report revealed that a previous shared ICT service between the councils, established in 2009, had overspent by £2.45 million, putting numerous jobs at risk.

Colin Marrs

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