Monday, 25 October 2004
Councillors made a unanimous decision last week, Wednesday, 20 October, to enter a partnership with Vertex to improve council services.
Among the many benefits that were announced were plans for Thurrock to gain over 600 new jobs, a business contact centre and a telephone call centre.
Councillor Anne Cheale, Leader of the council, said: "Councillors' work on a joint party initiative to decide on a partnership to improve council services culminated in a decision to enter a partnership with Vertex. This is clear evidence of the new administration's commitment to improve services in Thurrock.
"Thurrock will be an exciting place to be in the future and we should welcome the prospect of a company of Vertex's standing coming here to share the benefits. We are getting a new business centre and a call centre to radically improve how the council serves residents, over 600 new jobs, investment in community projects and young people, a business start-up unit and a major upgrade of our IT system.
"There are many other benefits, which I hope to announce shortly."
Councillor Garry Hague, Deputy Leader of the council, passed on his congratulations to members on both sides of the chamber and thanked officers for their hard work. He said: "As the Portfolio Holder for People and Business Development, I commend the project, which will increase jobs in the area, bring in benefits for young people such as increased training, and benefit local businesses and traders who will also be asked to supply goods and services to Vertex.
"The partnership will also have the cumulative effect of attracting new businesses to Thurrock and encouraging further investment in the area.
"This is a new and exciting time for Thurrock and for the staff who will transfer to Vertex as part of the new arrangements. Each staff member transferring will have their terms and conditions protected, and they will have new opportunities to pursue their careers in directions in which they may never have previously imagined."
The council will remain fully accountable to residents for all services provided and for ensuring that Vertex meets the needs of the community. David White, Managing Director of Thurrock Council, said: "This is a council-controlled project and, as such, members will be in a majority on the partnership board that will oversee the management of the contract."
The agreement between Thurrock Council and Vertex will be signed in November and the partnership will commence in April 2005. The contract will be for an initial 15 year period.
Senior council officers and advisers' from PriceWaterHouseCoopers and APSE reported to council on the partnership ahead of the decision by cabinet to proceed.
The process to determine the council's needs and to look for ways to significantly improve the resident's experience of contacting the council started in March 2003. It has been a rigorous project which was led by a cross party group of councillors.
Following a thorough procurement process the council chose Vertex as its preferred partner and entered into detailed negotiations.
Vertex has a great deal of experience in both the public and private sectors and has demonstrable ability to deliver significant improvements.
The full list of services, which will be managed by Vertex, consists of administration, finance, customer services, engineering and transportation, facilities, human resources, ICT and eGovernment, payroll services, procurement, property services and revenue services.