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No £160m for you: BT to receive termination notice from Cornwall before Christmas

High Court OKs Cornwall Council's move to ditch outsourcing deal

A cute cat in a jumper waves goodbye.... Pic via Shutterstock
Court's ruling means Cornwall Council can wave goodbye to the deal. Pic by Shutterstock

The High Court has ruled in favour of Cornwall Council's decision to ditch its 10-year £160m outsourcing deal with BT, following moves by the telco provider to stop the authority canning the deal.

Back in August, BT filed an injunction preventing the termination of the agreement after Cornwall sought to formally can the project in July, alleging BT had failed to meet its KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

The deal was originally signed in 2013, and represented a much scaled-down version of the £300m outsourcing deal following a councillors' revolt over the plans. The final agreement included plans to run the council's IT, human resources, and document management services.

Councillor Andrew Wallis said of the decision by the High Court in a blog: "[The judgement] confirms our argument that BT Cornwall had been in material breach of the contract due to their failure to carry out services to the required contractual standards and, therefore, that the Council was justified in reaching the decision to terminate the contract."

He said the council will also be seeking payment of its costs from BT Cornwall in connection with this legal action. "From this, the Council intends to hold discussions with BT Cornwall to agree the level of damages the Council will receive. This could run into the millions," he said.

Wallis said the Council intends to provide notice of termination before Christmas, with changes taking effect in January, including the transfer of approximately 250 staff back in-house.

The following services will transfer back to the authority: HR Transactional Services including Payroll, HR Employment Support, First Point Helpdesk, Financial Processing, ICT, Despatch, Printing and Telecare. "My thoughts are with the staff who will yet again be affected with this judgement," he said.

In a statement, BT said: "We are disappointed that the High Court has ruled in favour of Cornwall Council. We are reviewing the judgement carefully and considering its implications.

"We will be meeting with the Council at the earliest opportunity to discuss the full impact of the Court's decision on BT Cornwall.

"In the meantime, BT Cornwall will continue to provide high quality services for the residents of Cornwall that are meeting all key performance targets and bringing operational savings." ®

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