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 …
Ian Liddell-Grainger (MP for Bridgwater) has been covering the deal on his blog, including the fact that IBM appear to own 81% of SouthWest One.
I wrote about it a few months ago as well.
Those that know Colin Port will also know that he is a law unto himself, and runs his force in the same way. He spent £80,000 of the force’s (tax payers) money to defend his wife’s name in the Southwest One fiasco – what’s the difference between this and the expenses claims made by the MP’s?
There are many examples of serious bullying by senior managers (with his blessing) of the rank and file, causing many of them to go sick. If the staff complain they are further bullied.
Not surprising that they’ve got the 5th Worse sickness record of any force in the country!