Q1 The Future of Southwest One (SW0)
The media has reported that Avon and Somerset Police and Wiltshire Police are moving towards sharing services (IT, HR and payroll etc.) (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-30978946)
a) Was Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) (as a partner in the Joint Venture Company-Somerset County Council (SCC), Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC), Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Constabulary (PCC) and IBM – known as Southwest One) consulted?
TDBC were not consulted on the discussions regarding the formation of a strategic partnership for the delivery of back office services between Avon and Somerset Police (ASP) and Wiltshire Police.
b) Has this been included in the corporate risk log?
c) What steps are being taken to ensure there is no detriment to TDBC?
Response to b) and c)
We are currently talking to ASP to better understand any impacts before we can undertake any meaningful risk assessments, recognising that the discussions are at a relatively early stage of development.
d) What progress is being made to bring back (insource) services from SW0 as the contract ends in 2017?
e) When will services (currently dependent on Southwest One) be able to plan effectively for the period leading up to 2017 and beyond?
Response to d) and e)
Due to the scale and complexity of the arrangements, TDBC has already started to plan for the end of the contract with Southwest One and the Partners. All options are being explored by TDBC and nothing has been formally agreed or ruled out at this stage. At the appropriate time the end of contract options will go through the formal governance and
decision making processes, and engagement will take place with key stakeholders, including staff and Partners.
Q2 IBM, Leicester City Council and Southwest One
It was reported in the media (30th January 2015) “Technology company IBM is to open a base in Leicester with the creation of 300 jobs over three years. It will be the first time the US firm has selected a UK site for one of its services centres.” (BBC News website)
a) Did IBM consult Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council about creating a service centre in Somerset?
b) Were similar claims (creating and working with universities and creating new jobs in Somerset) made during the ISiS programme (which led to the contract with IBM?)
c) Were the promises by IBM of economic development and creating new jobs (in Taunton and Somerset) contractual? If contractual, (was it removed in subsequent post original contract variations?) then are IBM now in clear breach of contract and what steps can be taken?
Responses to a), b) and c)
IBM proposed a series of potential initiatives around employment and economic development for Somerset as part of their original bid and some of these were included in the contract with SWO. If TDBC identified an actionable breach of contract it would take action to protect its position and follow due Council process. No consultation has been undertaken by IBM with TDBC in relation to the Leicester proposal.
Q3 This relates to Annual Report of the Cabinet Member for Resources (Paper 16 Item 16) – Southwest One
Section 2.9 states:” Since the return of services in 2013 the Client Team have continued to robustly manage Southwest with a continued focus on the ICT service to ensure value for money and improve the service performance of the contract for the County Council. SWO have had a significant number of KPI failures since, resulting in SCC having to serve warning notices to ensure an improvement to the ICT service.”
Are there similar Key Performance Indicator (KPI) failures at TDBC, if so can a list of them be provided?
In respect of the 2014/15 financial year to end of January 2015 SWO have failed one TDBC Key Performance Indicator as follows:
ICT – TDBC Network availability
Q4 The latest Southwest One Company Accounts (signed off September 2014)
“In assessing whether the company is a going concern, the directors evaluated the detailed financial forecasts, assessed the company company’s liquidity requirements and they received….However, as part of this review the directors are aware that at the end of the contract life, the company is currently due to settle its inter-company loan balance with IBM, which at 31 December 2013 was £48.8 million (2012:£47.9 million). Currently it is felt that there are insufficient cash flows to be generated in the remainder of the contract to settle the loan balance.”
a) Can you clarify whether TDBC will be liable for any of the inter-company loan balance with IBM as TDBC is a Joint Venture Partner in SW0?
TDBC is not liable for SWO’s inter-company loan balance with IBM
b) Did SWO borrow an additional £1 million pounds from IBM in 2013?
c) Is SW0 currently still trading because of “continued financial support from IBM United Kingdom Holdings Limited.”?
Response to b) and c)
These are matters for the SWO Board and any information that TDBC could provide would be limited to that contained in the published Accounts. We suggest any questions regarding the accounts are directed to the Company.