Council joins outsourcing trend

Blackburn and Darwen Council is to outsource its HR department and other
services in a 15-year deal worth £190m.

The council, which has 7,000 staff, is the fourth to outsource services to a
private company.

The deal will involve outsourcing specialist Capita investing more than £2m
in an integrated IT system and building a business centre in Blackburn.

Socpo adviser Tim Rothwell said other councils, including Kent, are
considering similar moves.

He added, "The jury is still out about whether this will lead to better
services – but there are a lot of other councils considering it."

Socpo has recognised the trend and allows members who are outsourced to
private companies to remain affiliated.

Although most HR services will be outsourced, the council will retain strategic
HR staff and control of overall HR strategy.

Harry Catherall, Blackburn and Darwen’s executive director for corporate
resources who oversees HR, said, "There is a demand for quality HR
professionals and it is now difficult to recruit and retain people with these
specialist skills.

"The deal will allow us to develop new HR staff and create white-collar
jobs in an area based traditionally around manufacturing."

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