Three bidders are in the running to provide a host of corporate services to councils in the South West as part of a £360m contract.
Capita, IBM and BT (working in conjunction with Carillion) have been shortlisted to set up a strategic service partnership with Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.
The new joint venture company will provide HR, finance, ICT, property services, customer contact, revenues and benefits, office services, procurement, facilities management and design and printing services to both councils.
The partnership is estimated to be worth at least £360m over 10 years.
A further 35 councils in the region, plus a Fire and Rescue Authority and a Primary Care Trust have formally registered their interest in the framework. By registering, they avoid the lengthy OJEU tendering process if they need the services provided by the successful strategic partner at a later date.
Julian Morley, director of the South West Centre of Excellence, which is providing advice to the councils, said, “We’ve started from the premise that the principles underpinning the framework can be scaled up to a regional solution. In this way, the participating councils will benefit from the negotiating power that a regionally available contract brings.”
Registered authorities have up to four years to buy into the framework and have the option to ‘call off’ contracts for up to 15 years.
The preferred bidder will be chosen in spring 2007, with the launch of the new service in Somerset and Taunton Deane planned for next summer.