Barnsley on target for 20% savings after first twelve months of joint ICT venture with Bull
ICT service improved with workforce and local skills benefits through innovative service partnership
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) is on target to achieve ICT operations savings rising to 20% over the next decade, having successfully operated a joint venture ICT company called Bull TCL for the last twelve months. The new company is also laying the foundations for local skills enhancement and community regeneration in the South Yorkshire town.
BMBC and Bull formally joined forces last summer to turn the government’s ongoing Efficiency Agenda into a positive platform for system-based cost savings. BMBC harnessed its existing ICT operations and Bull’s technology infrastructure for the company, the council transferring 106 ICT staff while Bull has committed to delivering 86 new jobs over the agreement’s lifetime. The venture’s profits will help to reduce council ICT services costs over the years ahead. The venture is worth £70 million over its ten year lifetime.
As well as already meeting and exceeding central government Efficiency Agenda savings targets, the new company is a 21st century business infrastructure for the town and beyond. It is hosting ICT services and online communications for a county council schools’ ICT support organisation, the UK’s largest provider of online MBA qualifications and a large international bank.
The venture is bringing new impetus to Bull TCL’s workforce and local residents’ skills improvement. After a workforce skills audit, Bull TCL HR managers enacted a customised performance management programme for employees. This encompassed ITIL-standards based ICT training as well as ‘soft skills’ instruction modules such as workplace assertiveness. The venture’s HR programme has already expanded modern apprentice training opportunities for Barnsley College in ICT and business administration courses. The programme has also identified six month work placements for five local students at Bull’s Paris headquarters. In addition, the venture has also been acclaimed by schools inspectorate Ofsted for its technology project at Greenacre special needs school in Barnsley, which has used innovative learning technologies to enable pupils to participate more actively in the education process than ever before.
As well as the non-cashable savings noted, Bull TCL has a range of detailed performance management targets, with “penalties” applicable where targets are missed. Wider performance elements also include contribution to local regeneration and provision of robust ICT services to different public and private sector organisations.
Ken Rutt, BMBC assistant chief executive, explained: “We are pleased with the progress made during the first 12 months. We have completed the upgrade of over 700 PC desktops, extended service desk support hours, and implemented the first phase of an enterprise wide Document Management Solution. All projects were delivered on time and on budget. The reliability and performance of the IT infrastructure has exceeded our initial targets while we are pleased to act as an ICT hub for different businesses. The key factor was the way the two organisations have worked together to ensure continual improvements. Our surveys show that workplace customer satisfaction is approaching 99% to date.”
Phil Coppard, chief executive at Barnsley MBC commented: “We have established an innovative partnership to meet the needs of both the council and the wider community. A reliable ICT infrastructure has already proven vital in supporting transformation of local services, re-skilling and attracting business to Barnsley. This is clear evidence of true partnership working based on shared goals.”
Jenny Newton, Bull’s chief executive officer, UK and Ireland, said: “Local government is increasingly being tasked with developing citizen centric service delivery models that both improve local services and help to shape a geographical area and its wider public services. The Bull TCL partnership is an innovative approach to this challenge that is already bringing tangible results for the local authority as it addresses its complex service, efficiency and wider regeneration needs.”