AN OUTSOURCING deal which a council hoped would save it £9m could end up costing it more than it would have been to run the services itself.

Vale of White Horse District Council is a part of the Five Councils Partnership. Leaders said was a "ground-breaking" way to save finance, HR, IT and facilities management costs when it was agreed in 2016.

But it has been beset by problems. A council document says any financial benefit "has been considerably reduced, possibly even negated" by changes over recent months.

That has led a Lib Dem councillor to say the deal was based on ‘false promises’.

The Vale shares the partnership with neighbour South Oxfordshire District Council and with Havant Borough Council and Hart District Council, both in Hampshire, and Mendip District Council, in Somerset.

At the end of last year, all councils agreed to ditch a part of the contract with VINCI.

The company provided facilities management and other property services but it became apparent savings would not be as vast as had been expected.

According to a freedom of information request, the Vale paid £1.67m to VINCI for its work. South Oxfordshire paid £1.5m for its share.

But the councils’ troubled link with outsourcing giant Capita will roll on. In papers for a meeting to be held next Monday and centred on Vale services, it is revealed Capita’s HR and payroll service is ‘still not meeting required performance standards’ – despite operating for nearly two years. Part of its payroll and HR system was expected to be delivered in October 2016. It did not start until December 2017 – 14 months late.

Lib Dem councillor Debby Hallett said: “Vale Tories’ 2016 plan to outsource critical council work was based on false promises of saving about £9m over the nine years of the contract and delivering improved services.

“This week, we finally learn the truth: performance has been poor, and the promised savings won’t appear. In fact, outsourcing looks to be costing council more than it cost us to do the work ourselves, despite delivering an inferior service.”

She added: “The councils have fallen prey to the Conservative dogma that public services are ‘inefficient’ and that private contractors can deliver more for less. In reality, the public will end up getting less and paying more.”

The amount the partnership will need to pay VINCI after it ended its contract with the company early still needs to be worked out.

The Five Councils Partnership will continue until September 2025. Vale said it thought it would save £8m because of the Capita deal and just over £1m by working with VINCI.