Somerset County Council says SouthWest One 'not delivering'

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An outsourcing firm working for Somerset County Council has been branded a failure.

Leader Ken Maddock said SouthWest One was failing to deliver promised savings and "failing to be flexible enough in the changing financial landscape".

In 2007, the firm won an administration and back office task contract, to save the Conservative-led authority about £180m, over 10 years.

However, SouthWest One said it was on target with its long-term savings plan.

'Staggering losses'

Mr Maddock said as a result of its performance, a review would be carried out on all council services in order to achieve the savings it needed, a figure he estimated to be £20m.

"SouthWest One's accounts year-on-year, show losses, staggering losses, just published of £31m, and failures to meet modest savings targets," said Mr Maddock.

The council is also trying to renegotiate its contract which was made under the Liberal Democrat administration.

Mr Maddock also said he did not blame the failings on the workforce, but "the contract, the complications, the failed technology, the missed opportunities, the lack of promised savings".

A spokesman for SouthWest One blamed the pre-tax loss in 2010 on public sector cutbacks which mean it could not deliver the projected savings.

He said a further £17m was spent on "remaining and transformation costs needed to create Southwest One and implement major new systems"

The firm, which also delivers services to Taunton Deane Borough Council, and Avon and Somerset Police, had also "negotiated contracts that will deliver savings of at least £71m for the partners over the next few years, of which they have implemented £15m to date".

Avon and Somerset Police and Taunton Deane Borough Council have said SouthWest One is on track to deliver their savings targets.

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