After considerable public pressure (and following an online petition signed by over 400 people), the Capita Service Birmingham Contract (or rather one of the contracts at least) has been partly published.
'Partly' is the key word, as still hidden from the public's view are 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.
We will continue to challenge the redactions, as the redacted, hidden-from-view bits will, no doubt, be spurious - not commercially sensitive, but rather commercially and publicly embarrassing.
It will take some time to go through the contract, but on the basis of previous behaviour by Capita, they will be forced by further public pressure to remove much of the black-marker they've put all over the document.
The experience of Barnet's Capita consultation is that they try to get away with as much as possible being hidden from view at the beginning, but will be forced to show us more.
We'd like to thank everyone who signed the petition and for all the support we've received from around the country; we have won a small victory, but it's only the only first step.
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.
Above all, we need to remember that:
* Service Birmingham Limited is the Vehicle through which Birmingham City Council has outsourced former services to Capita PLC. It started in April 2006 and runs until 2020.
* Birmingham City Council paid Service Birmingham £126Million (£345,000 per day) for net goods and services in 2012. (£113Million - 2012; £157Million - 2011; £197Million 2010)
* Service Birmingham Limited made gross profits of £26Million (£72,000 per day) in 2012 and made operating profits of £21Million (£60,000 per day) in 2012
* Birmingham City Council passed the £1Billion landmark in payments to Service Birmingham during 2013 (it was at £994Million by the end of 2012)
* 98% of the Dividends are paid to Capita. The city council does not hold dividend-bearing shares.
* Dividends paid to Capita 2010-2012: £36Million; Estimate 2010-2013: £43.5Million
* Over 24 different Capita Group Companies are paid by Service Birmingham which themselves make profits from the venture in addition to the dividends paid under the contracts.
* The vehicle is a Joint Venture Agreement so that Shares in Service Birmingham Limited are owned by Capita Business Services Limited (68%) and Birmingham City Council (32%)
* The services involved: the Council's ICT, Call Centre, Council Tax & other Billing Services, Schools ICT
* In addition 'Business Transformation Services' (cutting council spend by different ways of working and use of building assets) have been delivered by Capita through Service Birmingham.
* The latest publicly available accounts are to Year End 2012. Service Birmingham's accounts run on a calendar year basis
* 2013 accounts will not be publicly available until October 2014
* Service Birmingham has paid £19Million in Corporation Tax 2006-2012
* The payments to Service Birmingham/Capita are approximately 10% of the council's entire controllable budget.
* In 2013 it emerged that Service Birmingham had charged £1.2million to set up the New Library of Birmingham website
* It was reported that Service Birmingham charged the City Council's Catering Firm £7000 to have a single computer installed.
Given the scale of the contract and the fact that Capita absorbs over 10% of the controllable expenditure of Birmingham City Council, the public interest test trumps the claims of 'commercial sensitivity' that has led to so much of the contract being kept secret.
* Professor David Bailey works at the Aston Business School in Birmingham