SOUTH Tyneside Council bosses say a multi-million partnership with BT is secure – despite news that 50 posts are being transferring back to the local authority.
It was back in 2008 that the council signed a £184m shared services partnership with BT to create ‘BT South Tyneside’.
The deal led to the building of the BT headquarters at Harton Staithes in South Shields.
It also led to council posts in finance, human resources and payroll departments moving across to BT, with the remit to deliver services to a range of local government customers.
Today, BT South Tyneside employs 350 staff at its Hawthorne Building in Jarrow, with a further 221 people employed in the borough – mainly at its Harton Quay building.
Now it has emerged that the relationship between the partners is changing. About 50 finance and human resources staff are transferring back to the council’s team.
A consultation process over the move has now been launched before the specifics of the deal are known – including whether the staff will re-locate back to South Shields Town Hall.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “After careful consideration, the council’s Human Resources Committee has endorsed a proposal to ask for a change to our partnership agreement with BT.
“This would involve about 50 finance and human resources staff transferring back to the council’s staff team from BT South Tyneside, making it possible for us to improve efficiency by bringing teams with similar functions together.
“Full consultation will take place with affected staff before any changes take place.
“BT South Tyneside remains one of the council’s primary strategic partners delivering a range of services on behalf of the council, including: ICT; corporate procurement; finance; HR and payroll; revenues and benefits; and customer services.
“The strategic partnership has been extremely successful to date and is well on target to deliver, and surpass on a number of partnership objectives.
“From time to time, it is necessary to make changes to the partnership agreement to reflect changing needs.
“This change is supported by the council and BT, who both remain firmly committed to the strategic partnership.”