THE county council is being asked to pay three times more than it thinks it should for work by failed outsourcing giant Carillion.

A senior council officer told councillors he could not be ‘specific’ about what might need to be paid but conceded it could mean ‘significant financial pressure’.

It appears that might run into tens of millions of pounds at least.

The council said it had spent about £119m over the lifetime of its contract with Carillion, which started in 2012 and was terminated in December 2017. The company folded a month later.

Read more: Oxfordshire council might owe yet more cash after Carillion crash

The council said it spent about £10.65m to end the deal, which was initially supposed to last for 10 years. The decision came after it became unhappy with the quality of work being done by the company and its contractors.

Bev Hindle, the council’s strategic director for communities, said claims for Carillion were three times more than what it was prepared to pay. Its counterclaim for other work, he said, is ‘five times that’.

He added: “The nature of the numbers we are looking at is significant and requires a significant amount of time to deal with.”

The council had been expected to say how much it needed to pay Carillion late last year.

The chairman of the council’s audit and governance committee, Nick Carter, urged Mr Hindle to ‘call a spade a spade’.

But Mr Hindle said: “It’s not that simple. We can’t, through a scrutiny committee, open up a public negotiation and the advice we’ve got is not to go into those details. I’m not trying to avoid the questions; I have the details. I’m just advised not to go into them.”

The work on behalf of Carillion is being carried out by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

It is the same firm the council has employed to advise it on major restructuring plans that could see 890 posts axed at the council.

Total work on that revamp is expected to come to about £18m but most will be spent on IT restructuring.

Read again: Oxfordshire County Council might cut up to 900 jobs in savings plans

Andy Fairweather, the council’s asset and investment team manager, said ‘forensic work’ had been undertaken, with a ‘golden thread’ showing officers exactly what work Carillion did.

‘Rock solid evidence’ was handed to the council’s lawyers at the start of the week, he said.

According to a freedom of information request received last year, the council had 599 projects completed by Carillion and its contractors over the contract’s life.

The value of those varied from £10m to £54 of work at St Mary’s Catholic School in Bicester.