Bull and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council to create Joint Venture Company in deal worth €110 million
Bull Information Systems, one of Europe’s largest information technology companies, and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC) have agreed to create a groundbreaking joint venture company that will manage BMBC’s IT operations and proactively pitch for IT support contracts in the wider market. It is a €110 million contract value over the first ten years.
BMBC and Bull will jointly own the new organisation which will enable a more cost effective, reliable, secure, responsive and robust ICT infrastructure to support all of the council’s services.
Under the conditions of this ‘in-sourcing’ project, BMBC will set the ICT strategy. The existing 106 staff of BMBC’s technical support team will be transferred to the new joint venture company where they will retain their existing employment packages and become core members in the new business.
The relationship with BMBC is a significant endorsement of Bull’s decision to re-enter the IT managed services market. Bull will apply its technology and expertise to manage the new company, to deliver Gershon efficiency savings to the council and improve service performance. As part of the overall model, Bull will use Barnsley as a new centre for other contracts and has already commenced moving a number of other recently won hosting projects into the Barnsley operations centre. This will build on Barnsley’s already impressive facilities with the intention of developing a regional or even national centre of excellence based on ITIL standard practice.
Phil Coppard, Chief Executive at BMBC said: “The driving force behind this project is the delivery of modernised services to the people of Barnsley. The operation of a secure ICT infrastructure is an essential requirement for the council in its aim towards being an excellent council and key initiatives of remaking Barnsley, remaking education and digital challenge aspirations. In-sourcing our IT services in this way not only guarantees the jobs of the existing team, it creates a new high-tech company in Barnsley that we believe is ideally poised to win new business and create more jobs in the local area. The new joint venture company is more than just a resource that will deliver premium services, it is a valuable commodity that we can grow and sell to outside areas.”
The joint venture company is aiming to work with regional bodies, colleges and skills councils to develop opportunities for local people to obtain IT training and join its workforce. Training will also be made available to existing employees who will be given the chance to develop their skills, driving up service standards for Barnsley residents. Barnsley’s business community is also set to benefit from the relationship between Bull and BMBC as the joint venture company provides new services, which could include the provision of ICT services to small businesses and start-ups within the region.
Steve Houghton, Leader of BMBC Council, said: “Bull listened to our requirements and created an innovative and imaginative solution to meet the strategic needs of both parties. We believe that this joint venture company structure will help deliver the most cost effective ICT service, stimulate the local economy and through the ICT service form a basis to significantly improve the services that we provide to the residents of Barnsley.”
The joint venture company will introduce service improvements to meet higher SLAs for IT service and support as well as improving on the current IT infrastructure. There will be a particular focus on helpdesk services, data centre management and flexible working solutions. The council’s business IT processes will also be made more resilient through the mirroring of its servers to a back-up disaster recovery centre in Hemel Hempstead.
“We are very pleased to be able to work with Barnsley in developing an innovative solution to their business and area requirements. With an in-sourcing model such as the one we are providing through this joint venture company structure, the council will be able to benefit from our expertise but retain control of their ICT strategy.” said Mike Dunk, Managing Director, Bull Information Systems, UK & Ireland.