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Lancashire’s controversial One Connect BT deal axed
THE controversial One Connect Partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT will be finally legally disbanded next week.
The local authority’s Cabinet will formally agree new arrangements to replace the deal which sparked a police investigation into allegations over payments and contracts.
Last August LCC chief executive Phil Halsall was suspended over the award of a £5m fleet maintenance contract to OCL, leaving the authority in October.
Payments of more than £500,000 to former OCL chief executive David McElhinney continue to be investigated by police. On Thursday, the authority’s Labour Cabinet will officially dissolve the partnership created by their Tory predecessors in 2011.
It will take back services including welfare rights, care and support, pay policy, pensions, benefits, learning, and human resources and 749 staff to County Hall.
Specialist services including information technology, revenue, benefits and payroll services will be handled by a new wholly-owned BT company called BT Lancashire Services Limited where 400 county staff will work on secondment. Former Tory leader of the authority Geoff Driver attacked the move. He said: “This is politically motivated and Lancashire’s council taxpayers will pay the price and receive poorer services.”
The item before the Cabinet admits that the partnership delivered a 10 per cent saving on previous county costs.
County deputy leader David Borrow said: "We have dissolved this partnership without cost to the county council.
“We can deliver larger savings than the 10 per cent agreed in the original deal.
“This deal with give us the flexibility to make the much bigger savings we need because of government cuts. The arrangement with Lancashire Services Limited is a more normal contractual arrangement with BT than the One Connect Partnership.”
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