Public consultation begins on key service delivery contract

Mendip District CouncilA consultation with local residents and businesses begins this week to help Mendip District Council to explore a new way of providing some of its services.

The council is looking into whether expanding one of its key service delivery contracts will deliver cost savings that could then be invested back into frontline services, and is asking for opinions on its proposals.

In the face of continuing reductions in funding from central Government, Mendip has teamed up with four other local authorities – South Oxfordshire, Vale of the White Horse, Hart and Havant – to market-test and examine the savings that could be made if all five authorities jointly bid for a new Business Support Services contract.

Mendip’s contract with Capita Business Services expires in July 2017. The contract delivers high profile frontline services and provides back office support for a range of public services – IT, revenues (council tax, business rates), benefits, payroll, finance, design and print, post and the Customer Contact Centre.

By working together in a joint procurement exercise for a contract which may be the largest of its type, the councils hope to achieve greater competition, keener prices and to wield greater collective influence over the contractor throughout the contract term.

Estimates suggest that the councils could jointly expect to make additional savings of at least £5million over a seven-year period.

The proposals to explore expanding Mendip’s business support services contract were agreed at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet last October, and the time has now arrived to set the ideas before the public and local organisations to see what they think.

Mendip has an excellent track record of using external providers for some of its services. The business support services contract has been provided externally for over 20 years to fulfil statutory roles of the council and over that time the contract has saved the taxpayer £13 million pounds, provided £3.2 million pounds of investment in infrastructure and provided an additional 70 jobs based in Shepton Mallet delivering services to other local authorities.

Chris Atkinson, Corporate Manager for Access to Services, said: “By working in partnership with other local authorities to procure a joint business support services contract, we are confident that we will be in a strong position to negotiate the best deal possible – a new contract that not only continues to provide high-quality services to local people, but one which could jointly save the councils millions of pounds.”

Cllr Harvey Siggs, Leader of Mendip District Council, said: “I encourage residents and businesses to take part in this important consultation, and let us know what they think about a proposal which will represent a step forward in our efforts to continue to provide high-quality frontline services to the people of Mendip through re-investing the money we save.”

The consultation runs from 9th February to the 9th March and is available on Mendip District Council’s website –  Paper copies are also available by post on request by phoning Mendip’s Contact Centre on 0300 303 8588, or by writing to Joint Services Consultation, Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT.