Birmingham City Council could cancel its controversial IT services contract with Capita at just 12 weeks notice, it has been revealed.
The long-suspected details of a ‘termination at will’ clause emerged after a redacted version of the Service Birmingham IT contract was published online after a local campaign.
And comes as leading critic of the Service Birmingham deal, Post columnist Prof David Bailey, highlighted the fact that the Birmingham council taxpayer is paying, a £345,000 a day, more in 24 hours to finance the IT and call centre contracts than Britain’s highest paid footballer Wayne Rooney earns in a week.
But the clause which says just 60 business days notice is needed to terminate the contract will encourage campaigners who believe the deal should be torn up to save taxpayers cash at a time of austerity.
Capita is also committed to assisting a smooth transition to another service company should the deal be terminated.
The ruling Labour administration running Birmingham City Council has already negotiated a £20 million reduction in the annual costs of the Service Birmingham contracts - deals which at their peak have cost the authority £120 million per year.
Council deputy leader Ian Ward has also ordered a financial appraisal of the deal, to see if the council would save money over the remaining seven years of the contract by taking its IT and call centre services in house.
Prof Bailey said that despite winning his campaign to get the contract published - there are still too many details missing or redacted.
He said: “They have clearly hidden from the public’s view those key and important parts of the contract which Capita’s lawyers consider to be ‘commercially sensitive’.
“The most commercially sensitive thing about these contracts is that Birmingham’s Citizens have been paying £345,000 per day to Capita Service Birmingham under this contract. What’s actually really commercially sensitive is that they don’t want the Citizens of Birmingham to know exactly how they are able to charge every day more than Wayne Rooney is being paid every week under his new contract.”
He argues that details are kept secret to hide council embarrassment rather than protect commercial sensitivity.
He added: “It’s time for the Piper to pay the tune: the Citizens of Birmingham pay for this, not the Council. They should see the contract in its entirety with only personally sensitive data removed.”