Lincolnshire County Council advised to carry on with controversial Serco support service contract for extra two years

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A recommendation to continue Lincolnshire County Council’s contract with Serco for support services for a further two years, will be put to councillors in the coming weeks.

Extensive work has been carried out by council officers, looking at the future provision of the functions currently provided on behalf of the authority by Serco, according to a council statement.

The five-year contract with Serco is due to expire at the end of March 2020. it was dogged with issues with its payroll system early on, causing wrong payments for staff and bills at schools and other areas of the county. this led to Serco being fined £2m for its failures.

It led to the council considering going into partnership with Herefordshire County Council to share support services by its provider, Hoople.

The recommended option now is for Serco to continue providing the support services until the end of March 2022, with a few specific functions being brought back in-house within the council.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Coun Martin Hill, said: “Serco are now meeting the performance targets we have set for them, and are overall offering a good service. For them to continue providing these services when the current contract is due to end, still represents good value for money.

“Council officers have been looking at the options now so that, if changes were made, there was plenty of time to implement those. However, continuing with Serco as our provider means we can make more progress on the longer-term IT projects they are already underway with and avoid extra time and costs on these projects.”

The council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will consider the recommendations on September 27 before the council’s Executive take a final decision on October 2.

Serco’s Mark Bennett, Director for Strategic Partnerships, who manages the contract at Lincolnshire said: “Following the initial challenges, which we all recognise existed at the beginning of the contract, our people have worked extremely hard and are passionate and proud of the services they provide.

“We have invested in considerable extra resources and capability over the last few years to transform the level of service that we are providing in Lincolnshire. We now believe that our performance is in line with the council’s expectations and we are confident we can go forward and continue to offer value to the residents of Lincolnshire.”