The local press has confined itself to some typically soft reporting of Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s recent announcement that it is formally joining the Southwest One outsourcing initiative.
Southwest One is a huge public-private partnership deal involving Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council outsourcing large parts of their business to global IT firm IBM. They are now joined – at the behest of Chief Constable Colin Port – by Avon & Somerset Constabulary who are throwing £185m at Southwest One to run their financial services, human resources, information technology, estates, facilities management and procurement services.
However, what seems to be under-reported – as these things often are – is the fact that Southwest One is the direct result of another project called Improving Services in Somerset (ISiS) run under the interim directorship of CONsultant Sue Barnes or Mrs Colin Port as she is also known.
The Blogger intends to do some further reporting on this issue over the coming months. So if anyone out there has any information on how Ms Barnes managed to move smoothly from a permanent role at Suffolk County Council and acquire a new post in Somerset without apparently needing to go through any traditional appointment or recruitment process please do get in touch.
Also anyone who can explain why Somerset’s County Solicitor appears to have been entirely shut out of this outsourcing process while private legal advisors have been retained and anyone who can shed any light on why there appears to have been a total lack of any political scrutiny of this officer-led deal worth hundreds of millions is also welcome to get in touch …