Consultancy and outsourcing firm KPMG has been awarded an £18m contract to, for all intents and purposes, create the entire back-end operations, processes and technology system for the recently formed Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.
Legally born on 1 April 2019 from the merger of constituent councils, BCP Council has been looking for a "more fundamental transformation... to fully realise the opportunities that local government reorganisation can bring, as well as remove the complexity, duplication and therefore cost of the operating model," according to the contract award notice.
KPMG, it appears, is the supplier to do that. It was inevitable, perhaps, because the consultancy giant had already developed the Organisational Design for the council [PDF].
In its new role as Strategic Implementation Partner, the consultancy will be responsible for implementing that model. Areas of work include IT consulting, software development, computer-site planning consultancy, business analysis consultancy, information technology requirements review, accountancy, business management, HR, procurement, business organisation services – and much, much more.
KPMG will be expected to develop an "operating model, ways of working and technology architecture" and "identify a recommended operating model design and develop a high-level implementation approach," according to the notice. It is set to offer "management consultancy services, commercial consultancy services, technology implementation and project management consultancy services, strategic advice to senior stakeholders and additional resources to support Council capacity and capability."
The £18m deal will also put the supplier in the position of deciding the relationship with other technology providers. It will "support in the development and technical implementation of the identified technology solutions ensuring that the Council's requirements are met by the technology (the technology required to deliver the organisational design model will be under separate third-party arrangement)," the notice said.
The council, which serves a population of 395,331, is responsible for the usual local government roles including libraries; waste management; children, young people and families; adult social care; planning; and schools.
Observers of public-sector outsourcing will question whether the council is wise to entrust so much of its organisational design and operational implementation to one single firm.
They might also point out that such a newly born council, with an annual net budget of £283m in 2020/21, might not have the skills to manage the relationship with the $29bn-revenue supplier. It might find itself being managed by KPMG, rather than the other way around. ®