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back to article Service Birmingham offshores IT jobs

Service Birmingham, the joint venture with Capita that provides services for the UK's largest council, has confirmed that it plans to outsource a number of IT functions to India. A spokesman said the decision has already been made as part of its contract extension with the council, and will cover only people working on back- …

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Unhappy

I'm tempted to say

As a Birmingham resident and occasional user of "customer facing" services such as Council website and telephone system, I'm tempted to say that things couldn't actually get any worse than they already are, and so saving money would be a benefit.

Unfortunately, based on dealings wiht BT Retail, the overpriced and underperforming provider of telecom services to the ill-informed, I know that services offshored to save money can always be worse than your worst nightmares.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 09:29

"I'm tempted to say that things couldn't actually get any worse than they already are, and so saving money would be a benefit."

Except there will be 100 fewer people paying taxes and 100 more people claiming benefits.

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Anonymous Coward

Local

but, those benefits will be paid from a central government fund - so the local residents gain (as does Crapita).

I don't advocate this, I don't live and never have lived in Birmingham, but many organisations are desperate to save money due to central government cutting funding and I guess the local councils don't care that there will be an extra burden due to unemployment...

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Grenade

"It won't have any effect on customer-facing roles,"

Thanks, Capita spokewonk, that makes it so much easier to swallow. The fact that it'll be server admins losing their jobs and the council's servers being administered from several timezones away.

Great move, Capita. Time to break out the bubbly, toot and hookers!

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FAIL

customer-facing roles to Crapita

Are usually Government Ministers. Not the people that have to actually explain to somebody halfway around the world that their Bin hasn't been emptied yet again.

Or that their mothers meals-on-wheels haven't arrived yet again.

More money saving scheme's which will end us costing us more than we save.

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no firm estimate on how much money it will save

Typically about 3 pounds fifty.

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Savings?

In every case that I have seen where services were outsourced in this way, the actual savings were minimal at best. The bean counters often fail to allow for certain costs which make the outsourced service more expensive than the original plans; they then have to get a bit creative and hide these costs under different categories.

Worse is that the level of service often deteriorates as well; I've not seen a single case where the service improved. In many cases, they quote response times, but without defining if the issue was resolved.

The worst item that I have seen, the original fault was entered 8 times on a help desk system, showed a really good response time for each incident, but the fault itself took nearly 5 months to resolve. However, because it was entered 8 times, and in each case was then closed within a couple of hours; this then showed that they were achieving their SLAs.

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"Overseas expertise"

Cheap labour, you mean.

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FAIL

we are committed to operating as efficiently as possible

Council Website.

That is all.

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FAIL

Meh.

Out of curiosity has the council even twigged that the people being put out of work will be the same new claimants turning up in their own job centers for unemployment and housing benefits (ironically using the systems they helped write/run)?

Are we therefore saying that as a nation it is a net financial gain to offshore our jobs and pay unemployment instead?

Down tools one and all, your job can go offshore and you will be paid to sit at home and watch Jeremy Kyle! Bring it on!

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@Gulfie: It's not the council making a saving.

You'll find that the councils are paying the same for these services under contract no matter where the workers are based. It's not their decision who is employed or where they are based, you see. Well, not unless they thought of that when they signed the contract that is.

What is their decision is to whom they award contracts, or, if they truly understood how IT works, to keep the support and expertise in house where they can manage it. But these decision are made by people who don't understand technology, and who do not understand that the best support tech they can have is one who will have fixed the problem before anyone even realized there was a problem. That's the person who rarely looks busy, so they obviously aren't needed, are they? So outsource that post, then see things go to hell because the company looking after services only respond when a problem has been reported. And by then it's too late.

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don't understand...

The people that make these decisions don't understand the difference between arse and elbow. They are thick as short planks. Unfortunately the stupidity extends well beyond councils right up whitehall and into the commons where it is manifest on BOTH sides of 'the house'. Worse still these idiots are voted in by the masses of unwashed fools who might just about listen to 'the news' before getting excited by east enders or 'the only way is essex'.... Democracy, a good way to make a fortune from fools and idiots.

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FAIL

You. Must. Learn. Irony.

... and as somebody who's worked on loads of oursourced projects it never ceases to amaze me that there are few if any contract clauses to keep all work onshore.

Morally, for ALL central and local government contracts, there should be.

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Thumb Up

What could go wrong?

I mean lots of other organisations sucessfully outsourced their IT functions. That is, err, no they didn't . Sorry.

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FAIL

Save money for???

Does this mean the money saved will go back to the council, of course not.

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Anonymous Coward

Save money for???

the rich! Can't wait to see next years rich list and see how far Crapita execs have moved forward

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Anonymous Coward

So what

All the jobs will come back when India's GDP gets above the UK's (in about 10 years at this rate!)

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Unhappy

AC@10:26

"All the jobs will come back when India's GDP gets above the UK's (in about 10 years at this rate!)"

Why?

UK governments investment in improving or even *maintaining* skill levels is p**s poor.

They might however move to a low wage economy where the government *has* invested in keeping its peoples skill levels up to date.

Pakistan? Tibet? Bali?

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Anonymous Coward

How?

How is this allowed? disgrace

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One for the fatcats

This outsourcing makes me soooo sick...Fair enough those at the top of the ladder end up with even more money in their pockets.....but its all at the expense of sending money that could go to UK workers and back into our economy abroad for those countries to benifit...

Can anyone here tell me of a good support system that has been outsourced...I cant it only bring thoughts of Dell and HP to mind...hahahaha

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Anonymous Coward

It's allowed because ...

... people don't care enough. At least, not until the latest wheeze costs them dear personally.

People. Phhhhh.

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Welcome

my systems!

I wrote all the systems used in the print units created specifically for the service birmingham contract. I wonder if all my comedy code will now be manhandled thousands of miles away... perhaps I can get some contract work out of this to do training, what's the weather like in india at the moment?

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What is cheaper?

For the tax payer it's better to pay someone JSA than a salary (~£200 vs £2000). The public sector has too many staff (and usually not enough where it is needed, A&E, maternity care etc.!)

Whether the system being outsourced will work is one question, another question is (sometimes) if the system is needed at all? There are dept. services that do nothing at all and a service head getting £80k+)

Do councils paying tax payers money as salary, generate tax income?

Hmmm, let's say they get £20K, 25% goes to central tax/NI, ~5% council tax, leaving 70%, then minus all the VAT purchases, fuel, clothes etc. ~60% is then left going into their private pocket. Does that 60% create tax revenue?

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Anonymous Coward

Service Birmingham.......

Try getting a job in IT with Birmingham Council at even the most menial level, and if you aren't with Service Birmingham, your application will find its way to the circular file....... They've become a virtual monopoly, despite which, it appears they still want more..... Sympathies go out to the workers affected as their bosses join the race to destroy any hope of decent pay and conditions for IT workers based in Birmingham, whilst elevating those in Mumbai and knackering IT service delivery in the city. As for projected savings - Birmingham has a history of employing contracting companies, at great expense, and extracting little in the way of savings.

In the meantime elected officials sit on the board of this operation, and maybe there could be a story there for an investigative type.

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Flame

@trafalgar

trafalgar

What is cheaper?

Posted Tuesday 24th May 2011 13:06 GMT

Departments that do nothing at all ? Oh yeah right...... Only in your own head ya numpty.

Do councils paying tax payers money generate tax income ? Yes, income tax on employees earnings, and those of suppliers, and spending of wages that goes back into the economy, or do councils now manufacture their own bog roll.

Go back to trolling the Guardian's CiF pages and avoiding tax.

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you're mistaken...

Yes, but income tax on council workers salaries, is tax payers money going back to the tax pile- the remaining 70% of the salary goes to the invdividual, a loss of 70% to the tax payer. Private (to private) enterprise generates tax, the origin is the private pocket, for the tax payer that is a gain.

I've worked in councils and yes there are redundant areas which have developed, due to the nature of not having commercial pressures or lacking good leadership (or both). I'd rather pay £200/month JSA out of my tax than £2000+/month on redundant staff.

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FAIL

Its all very well to talk about tax income from companies but...

I have a two word phrase for you - "tax avoidance". As a nation we should be working to provide efficient services at a competitive price, onshore. Not poor services at a cheaper (?) price offshore and allowing the companies contracted to conduct tax avoidance (I am not suggesting that Capita specifically are involved in tax avoidance).

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FAIL

"... will cover only people working on back-office services."

Umm... So who's gonna swap that dead server hard disk drive, or replace that failing power supply, or open the telecoms closet for BT when the line goes down, then?

I get it... You'll re-assign a few of your customer-facing people to be back-office wonks!

Oh, wait...

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FAIL

They may aswell move it all out

"I'm tempted to say #

Posted Tuesday 24th May 2011 09:29 GMT

As a Birmingham resident and occasional user of "customer facing" services such as Council website and telephone system, I'm tempted to say that things couldn't actually get any worse than they already are, and so saving money would be a benefit"

^^This.

28 days response for an email - unhelpful, rude people with a similar grasp of English as many outsourced companies, their payment system online hasn't worked the last 10 times I have tried it - it is just a complete joke of a system.

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Silver badge

Satyam, and other remote services...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyam_scandal

Sometimes the headline price does not represent a bargain. By being beyond arms reach, fraud becomes so much easier

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Nomnomnom

Fresh meat for the Indian maggots.

Stockholders, take note, financial misconduct often follows close on the heels of an outsourcing adventure.

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WTF?

"although there is no firm estimate on how much money it will save."

You've got the *supposed* saving of eliminating 55 UK jobs but you *still* cannot say *if* that will save money.

Do they not know *enough* about the systems they are supporting to be able to make that kind of determination?

If not *why* do it all?

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WTF?

best value?

I wonder... so the services might be cheaper when they are done abroad, but then you do need to pay the housing benefits, council tax benefits, school meals and unemployment benefits for the back office workers who are now redundant. They also won't be paying council tax or income tax.

Over all the normal here is for Britain plc (and probably Brum council plc) to be significantly worse off, the tax payer to be s****d. I daresay the council will trumpet the 'savings' without considering the costs of those savings.

This is what has happened over the whole UK. IF the police bought British cars and vans Rover at Longbridge would still be going, along with LDV, their suppliers - Lucas, BSA etc. would also be working. I bet all the council vans were 'so much cheaper' from Germany - yet no one thinks of the British 'workers' sitting idle on benefit instead of contributing. If the cabinet were in Jags not BMWs, if the British army drove Bedford, ERF, Foden, Ford instead of Renault.... if the NHS, police, tax and other computer systems weren't programmed in the USA or India.... lots of ifs,added up if we were sensible about our buying policy we wouldn't have > 30% of the working age population idle, we wouldn't have <0.5% growth, we would probably be more like China, Germany, France (none of which incidentally buy foreign services with tax payers money).

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FAIL

IT staff on benefits

So all these back office staff in Birmingham are so hopelessly unemployable that they are going to be on benefits for the rest of their lives? If that's the case maybe its better that they aren't working on important IT systems.

AFAIK, ServiceBirmingham is a joint venture between the Council and Capita, so any cost savings are shared, hopefully resulting in lower council taxes.

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Facepalm

LOL

"so any cost savings are shared, hopefully resulting in lower council taxes" Sorry Andrew, but when did a council reducing cost ever lead to lower taxes.

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