Burnley councillors have been given an update on the progress of a strategic partnership between the council and private contractor Liberata.
The company was brought in to take over the running of some services from the council. These included customer services, revenue and benefits, and environmental health.
The partnership was part of Burnley Council’s strategic planning around maintaining essential public services while meeting ever-increasing financial challenges.
Members of the council’s scrutiny committee were given an update on how the partnership has progressed. The updated highlighted a number of success stories.
Councillors were told that, in terms of job creation, the partnership was ahead of predictions. Halfway through the second year of the contract 48 new skilled jobs have been created, ahead of the target of 40 by the end of the second year.
Of those new employees, 25 are working to deliver services to other local authorities across the country, including the London boroughs of Bromley and Hillingdon.
Ian Brotheridge, Liberata’s regional contract director said: “Liberata staff are continuing to work closely with colleagues across the council to increase the number of people who access council services online. This is particularly noticeable in services provided by revenues and benefits, and streetscene.
“We are working with the council to identify vulnerable residents to make sure we are providing the support they need, when a self-serve digital option is not practical.”
The success of the partnership is being recognised nationally. Liberata has been named a finalist in four categories in the North West Contact Centre awards, with hopes for further success in the 2017 national awards.
Customer development manager Leanne Burrows won a Bronze Award for “Most Positive Impact on the Community” at the National Contact Centre Awards, being beaten into third by much bigger competition in the shape of National Power Grid and Virgin Media.
Burnley Council entered into a 10-year contract with Liberata in 2015. It took over the operation of Customer Services and Information Technology services; Revenues, Benefits and Debt Management; Payroll and Human Resources systems; Asset and Facility Management services; and Environmental Health and Licensing.
Councillor Andy Tatchell, Chair of the scrutiny committee, said: “It’s very pleasing to see the progress the council’s partnership with Liberata is making. The key points are that council remains responsible for the services; that Burnley residents continue to receive the services they need; and these are being delivered by people with local knowledge.”
Council chief executive Mick Cartledge said: “Bringing in a strategic partner was a new approach but one which is already paying dividends and proving successful.
“Services will continue to develop and change. Liberata has the objective of retaining jobs, skills and talent in Burnley and it is looking to grow jobs and services in our borough.”