Thursday, 18 October 2012

And then there was one...

The fact that one of the bidders for Cornwall Council's proposed privatisation has pulled out might be seen as another nail in the coffin of a dead proposal. But it also makes it much more difficult for anyone who wants to take the proposal forward to hope to get a value for money outcome.

I'll put my cards on the table. Whilst I think there are areas of joint working (and even working with a private sector partner) that could be taken forward, I'm wholly opposed to certain aspects of the current proposal and think it should be dropped at this time. I'd like to see the next council make the decision based on a mandate from the public and including a 'third way' option of a mutual or the original trading vehicle option.

But whilst I was very concerned about the idea of working with a company with such a colourful history as CSC (orange jumpsuits anybody), their decision to pull out makes a mockery of the idea of a competitive tendering process. The remaining bidder - BT - could decide to backtrack on some of their commitments as they would be under less pressure to produce a better deal. (That's not to say that they will, of course. The process until now has meant that they have made certain promises that it would be difficult to renege on, even if they were minded to).

The decision will be taken next Tuesday by the full council (as it should be). I'll be arguing that it should be shelved until May.

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