Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Local Government – taking ‘best of breed’ too far?

(By Anthony Miller) I was frankly staggered when I saw the contract award notice for a £50m deal at Torbay Council. The Council is undertaking a massive capital works programme using a panel of consultants covering a veritable A (Architecture) to Z (OK, not Z – but close) of activities. The section on ICT makes interesting reading: “ICT: Each of the eight (8) Lots will be divided into sub-lots to account for specialist services within each discipline. Suppliers can opt to bid for any Lot(s) or Sub-lot(s) or may also submit a combination bid covering more than one (or all) Lots or Sub-lots. The Contract will be for the duration of two (2) years with an option to extend for a maximum period of two (2) further years of rolling increments of twelve (12) months.”

I have scoured through the contract award detail and it appears Torbay have yet to award the ICT bit. The other elements have been spread across 48 (yes, I do mean 48) firms including, by the way, Capita Symonds, the building design, civil engineering, environment, management and transport consultancy arm of Capita. This little known aspect of Capita’s multi-disciplinary BPO portfolio is expected to generate £260m revenues this year, about 10% of Capita’s group revenues.

If the government really wants to drive efficiency (and see Richard’s observations on the PBR below), is this really the right way of going about it? Surely you need to consolidate your supplier list, not expand it? I am just thankful I am not the muggins in charge of administering this award as what chance of success do you think you’d have with this many players in the mix?


powerscroft said...

Staggering doesn't come into it. No doubt Torbay will be trying to sell 'shared services' to other local councils who are busy trying to do the same thing back to Torbay.
Will any service provider have the guts to tell them the plans are barking?

Wilfred said...

I don't think so. Consolidation would just mean that the same old large firms win all the jobs.