Firms put in bids to help run council services

PLANS to bring in private-sector companies to help run North Tyneside Council services have moved a step closer to getting off the ground.

Expressions of interest have been received from companies interested in working as partners with the council.

Share in two packages of services are up for grabs as the council looks to cut costs.

A business package including services such as finance, benefits and customer services has attracted interest from Arvato AG, Balfour Beatty Living Places, BT Group, and Northgate Information Solutions UK.

Among those interested in a second package potentially including property services, planning and consumer protection are Balfour Beatty Living Places, Capita Symonds, Colas URS, and Enterprise (AOL).

A shortlist of two companies for each package is expected to be drawn up by the end of March.

Bidders will have until the end of June to draw up final proposals, with the preferred bidder expected to be chosen in July.

The partnerships are due to go live between August and October.

A council spokesperson said: “We are very pleased with the level of interest from businesses with seven expressions of interest for each package.

“We have now drawn up a long-list of companies based upon their experience and capacity to take on contracts of this size and complexity.

“Now the next stage of the process will begin to ensure that we explore how the interested parties can deliver against the clear partnering objectives the council has set to get the best solution possible for the organisation, its staff and council tax payers.”

The key objectives set by the council, to be achieved by any partner, are:

• Delivering future investment in the services;

• Protecting jobs for the existing workforce in those services;

• Growing opportunities in the wider marketplace, leading to the creation of additional jobs;

• Contributing to the council’s need to achieve financial efficiencies totalling £47.5m over four years;

• Supporting the council in making better use of its offices;

• Delivering further success and improving performance for these services.