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

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done CC another total waste of our council tax. To add to the list of total feck ups you've made resulting in costly court action.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      How will it be a waste if they have a) reclaimed costs and b) brought staff back in house?

      1. BearishTendencies

        Think the point was the fuck up in outsourcing it in the first place....

        Not the consequent court action (which is a waste but inevitable if the supplier isn't performing, which itself is also inevitable)......

        Somerset are at it too. SouthWest One with IBM is being terminated too....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Think the point was the fuck up in outsourcing it in the first place....

          Yep that's the point I was making

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Joke

      So you're saying that Cornwall Council are more incompetent than BT?

      I'm not saying you're wrong, but it would take some doing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        God yes! You want to try living here! They shouldn't have outsourced to BT in the first place! They totally fecked up our recycle collection contract two years ago. That led to recycle not being collected for weeks as the company that got the contract couldn't get their vans down the narrow streets in most of the villages they had to collect from. They were going to allow the building of an incinerator over at St Dennis then denied planning permission (just before council elections, hmmm I wonder why) Result, SITA took the council to court (Council lost) and the incinerator is going to be built anyway. They introduced a One Cornwall council, despite the majority of people in the Duchy NOT wanting it (they did it anyway) BIG selling point was the closure of most of the old district council offices (most are still open) and they are building NEW offices in Bodmin at the cost of £M's Despite having no money (apparently) they want to borrow £3.3M to build new offices at the Tamar bridge, which aren't needed, (but to be fare its a joint effort with Plymouth City council)

        Thing is BT can be shite but that's their look out. When Cornwall Council are shite its my fecking money they're being shite with!

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          FAIL

          "Thing is BT can be shite but that's their look out. "

          Where do you think BT were getting the money from?

          The council.

          Where do you think the Council gets it's money from

          Council tax payers and the UK government IE national tax payers.

          That's you, that is.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It may be true that they have wasted some of your council tax but it does make a pleasant change that a public body can take a large IT supplier to court to cancel a contract and walk away with the supplier having to pay some costs.

      Normally the contracts allow the supplier to get a massive payout for failing to deliver the goods.

      BT must be kicking themselves for allowing a contract clause that allowed this to happen, would never have happened to Serco or Capita.

      1. Lysenko

        would never have happened to Serco or Capita.

        ...G4 ...just to be thorough

  2. nematoad Silver badge
    Go

    Getting out from under.

    If that TTIP abomination gets the nod I wonder if the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Solution) will be wheeled out to crush those uppity elected representatives from stopping big business from their God given rights to make a profit.

    I reckon that local authorities thinking about any failing contracts should get their skates on.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Getting out from under.

      That wouldn't apply here as this a clear breach of contract.

      The kind of case that TTIP wants mediated in smoke-filled rooms are when councils or government decide something is a public resource. Examples of this would be the various "recommunalisations" of utilities going on in Germany, especially those around deals with juicy fixed profits like in Berlin.

      An equivalent for the UK would be the contract for the new nuclear plant: under TTIP this piece of crap would be extremely expensive to repeal. Or any of the "heads I win, tails you lose" public-private partnerships. I'm not averse to getting private money directly involved in public projects as opposed to bond financing but the final risk should be equally shared.

    2. cs94njw

      Re: Getting out from under.

      Definitely!

  3. Commswonk Silver badge

    I may be old fashioned but...

    why is BT involving itself with in - house IT, HR, and document management? Should it not concentrate on the T in its name, and make sure that the UK's telecom provision is properly engineered and maintained?

    Mind you I never was an enthusiast for out - sourcing...

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: I may be old fashioned but...

      because money (and government pork at that).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I may be old fashioned but...

      Telcos globally face an existential problem. It's not terribly hard for IT businesses, satellite telly merchants and other utilities to add some telecoms to their portfolios.

      Unless telcos expand what they do, their pie gets smaller and smaller. I'd imagine BT in the UK took on the football stuff because otherwise anyone who wanted to watch football would be daft not to buy their telly, broadband and phone from Sky at a lower cost than buying all of those thing separately..

      Anyway, telcos have historically had good IT capability - and much of what is now the computing industry came out of telcos striving for automation - be that Tommy Flowers with Colossus and Highgate Wood and AT&T / Bell Lands developing UNIX, the transistor, Shannon's theories, France Telecom's Minitel service - there's a huge list.

      There's a big leap from those things to running a council's back office but I understand the motivation.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I may be old fashioned but...

        "Unless telcos expand what they do, their pie gets smaller and smaller."

        Another motive is to reduce the proportion of unregulated business. Nevertheless it's still inexplicable why BT deliberately not only shrunk their pie but created a competitor by splitting off O2.

        1. Archivist

          Re: I may be old fashioned but...

          I disagree that their prime market is shrinking. There has never been so much data transmission required.

          These side-businesses are just follies by transitory managers who think they are a way of making a quick buck.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I may be old fashioned but...

            "I disagree that their prime market is shrinking. There has never been so much data transmission required."

            At an ever decreasing price. Revenue per user since the 80's has been on a steady decline, even adding broadband into the mix. Unless telcos find new, profitable things to sell people they end up in trouble - as can be seen with Telefonica, France Telecom and KPN in recent history.

            Shifting bits sits nearly at the bottom of the value chain, one step above owning physical plant in the ground. Making money comes from making those bits valuable - Netflix and the like for consumers and managed WAN services and applications for businesses.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I may be old fashioned but...

          "it's still inexplicable why BT deliberately not only shrunk their pie but created a competitor by splitting off O2."

          I believe that at the time the binary decision on the table was 'sell O2 and most of the real estate or go bust'.

    3. iMap

      Re: I may be old fashioned but...

      They've done that from the early/ mid nineties.

      T for Tories?

    4. Chunky Lafunga

      Re: I may be old fashioned but...

      Well you have to admire their ambition in bring misery to more people rather than just those who have to suffer their abysmal telecom provision professionally and personally. Their customer service is totally inept and that's being polite.

      I just don't understand how they get away with it.

      1. AndrewDu

        Re: I may be old fashioned but...

        They get away with it because they're a monopoly.

        (Cue cries of "oh no we're not" from BT fanboyz).

        Where else can you go to get a landline installed?

        Nowhere.

        That's the problem in a nutshell.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I may be old fashioned but...

          "Where else can you go to get a landline installed?"

          In most British homes, Virgin.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I may be old fashioned but...

      "why is BT involving itself with in - house IT, HR, and document management? "

      Because the management at BT Global Services (it is them, presumably?) need to find some revenue to justify their ongoing existence, following e.g. the fiasco which was BT's contribution to the NHS's NPfIT?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I may be old fashioned but...

        BT's contribution to the NHS NPfIT, was one of the few things that actually worked. Esp. the data spine. Fujitsu and other supliers shoulder more of the blame, and thre Labour government's grossly ambitious, constantly changing project.

        Same sort of canned Council Outsourcing Deal, as with Sandwell MBC and BT in West Midlands, canned after legal action as both deals set-up before unexpected changes in central government funding.

        SandWell MBC, as badly run as Birmingham City Council, are embarking on another grossly ambitious scheme called the West Midlands Combined authority along with Birmingham City Council, Solihull MBC and a number of others. They won't realise the savings and benefits of the devolution from George Osbourne, as there will be perry infighting not to loose parts of empires in back office efficiencies and shared services. Warwickshire CC have wisely given this a huge bodyswerve.

        http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/west-midlands-combined-authority-must-10456934

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Used to work for a council a fifth the size in terms of population.

    There were 6 of us - 7 if you include the manager who was dead weight.

  5. teebie

    "BT Cornwall will continue to provide high quality services"

    I'm fairly sure that you recently lost a court case disputing the height of quality of your services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "BT Cornwall will continue to provide high quality services"

      First rule of PR: Never apologise, never explain. And this is PR.

      However, the message may be slowly sinking in. Somerset is backing out of the IBM consortium. Perhaps now they will rethink outsourcing children's services, even though the Government is leaning on councils to fulfil its ideology-led drive to privatisation (nothing at all to do with the profits of corporations with ex-MPs, MPs wives and so on on their boards.)

      I'm so old I can remember when Conservatives used to boast proudly that their party was opposed to ideology and in favour of what worked.

      1. SolidSquid

        Re: "BT Cornwall will continue to provide high quality services"

        They still do boast about that though, don't they? I just always took that to be in the same vein as BTs statement about delivering high quality services

  6. pikey

    eh

    "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."

    well better late then never.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outsourcing

    Nobody ever saved money or improved service by Outsourcing

    1. Chunky Lafunga

      Re: Outsourcing

      Well probably saves a bit of money in the short term and the person who pushed it through takes credit for savings get's a bonus then fecks off knowing in 3-4 years time it will be a mess.

    2. Joe Montana

      Re: Outsourcing

      Because outsourcing is done inappropriately and/or badly...

      Outsourcing is often promoted as the answer to everything, and there are potential economies of scale and improvements to be had by letting specialists handle what they're best at, while freeing them from having to deal with anything else.

      For instance your company may run a couple of databases, but not enough to employ a full time DBA, instead you have a general IT guy also manages the databases. If outsourcing is done properly, you can ensure that a full time highly experienced DBA manages your database, and since your databases are quite small he can manage databases for several clients.

      1. Lysenko

        Because outsourcing is done inappropriately and/or badly

        Outsourcing is *always* done badly because it is never done to improve quality (as in your example). Outsourcing might work if the contracting team had a mandate to improve performance and remain cost neutral (yes, a directive to NOT SAVE ANY MONEY) but that is slightly less likely to happen than the return of the Galilean carpenter on Friday.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Because outsourcing is done inappropriately and/or badly

          We used to make our own lunch on site. It was not good quality.

          Now we outsource it to a provider who knows what they are doing. It's much much better quality and we are all happy with it. I no longer have to mske lunch for everyone myself, I can get on with my real IT job.

          So don't come telling me outsourcing never works. It bloody did here.

      2. razorfishsl

        Re: Outsourcing

        Fail.......

        Outsourcing is done for one reason only....... to look good on paper by paying less.

        Everyone and their dog think they are experts in IT because:

        1. They read about Cloud computing and love the idea of not needing any 'hardware', not even networking because that can be virtualized too.

        2. They own a computer and know how to plug it in.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outsourcing

      I outsourced my wife and saved a fortune.

      Ba Dum Tsh

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outsourcing - Nobody ever saved money or improved service by Outsourcing

      It went wrong from the day Yahveh outsourced the operations management of GardenOfEden tlc (theologically limited company) to SNACO, who took over the original staff and then persuaded them to interfere with a system outside the scope of the contract. However, in the absence of TTIP, Yahveh was able to repudiate the contract and the outsourced staff got assigned to a much less cushy job.

      After the outsourcing of a large building also led to inter-contractor problems, Yahveh decided to keep things in house and give jobs to close relatives.

  8. Chunky Lafunga
    FAIL

    Muppets

    Outsource to BT! What could possibly go wrong?

    Typical BT response to being pulled up about quality of service by going to court to block termination. Says all you need to know.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. MarkGrld

    It took the threat of contract termination to get BTC to pull their fingers out with the win7 upgrades in my little corner of CC. Add to that the the inability to understand fire service payroll and the fact that we work 24hrs, BTC has not gone down well with CFRS.

    What I don't understand is the previously great IT staff that transferred to BTC suddenly turned into jobsworth 'have to raise a new request for that guv' types.

    Doomed to fail if the staff don't want to play.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New car? No problem. You want wheels with it too? They're extra.

      "the previously great IT staff that transferred to BTC suddenly turned into jobsworth 'have to raise a new request for that guv' types."

      That won't be the staff's direct decision, it's just standard operating practice at any of the corporate outsourcers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doomed to fail if the staff don't want to play.

      The trick with outsourcing is to claim that everything that needs doing is somehow an extension to the contract or something that is separately billed. If the building of houses was outsourced, once you had bought the house you would find that all the doors and windows were locked and every time you wanted to open or close one you had to pay the builder.

  11. Cameron Colley

    I thought BT had lost another high-value government contract recently?

    However, I can't find any news on it and don't want to post any details lest it be privileged information, for some reason. Has anybody heard of such?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought BT had lost another high-value government contract recently?

      One connect in Lancashire? http://m.lep.co.uk/news/local/lancashire-county-council-to-scrap-one-connect-limited-1-6393202

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All To Common

    BT over promised and under delivered, was unable to deliver basic things like a Windows 7 build, and let all temps go ignoring the fact that they made up 1/2 of first line staff. Things only started to 'improve' after legal action was threatened at which point all of the KPIs suddenly became green. So many people left that there are entire organisations in the South West made up of ex-BTC employees.

  13. Rezillo

    Of course, when Cornwall Council signed up in 2013, there were absolutely no signs of such arrangements becoming a major problem. Er......

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/dec/16/suffolk-council-bt-overspend

    http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/suffolk_end_of_line_for_controversial_csd_at_county_council_1_1650404

  14. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    BT Cornwall?

    Is this new and specially created company invented by BT to minimise the any potential liability if things go tits-up? Now that things have gone tits-up and they lost at the High Court I bet there are people at BT proper congratulating themselves on creaming off the profits and leaving their little subsidiary to carry the can

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