A COUNCIL still won’t say how much it expects to save from a deal with outsourcing giant Capita, despite councillors agreeing to change its contract two months ago.

Vale of White Horse District Council signed up to the ‘ground-breaking’ Five Counties Partnership in February 2016, expecting to save £9m over the nine-year contract.

South Oxfordshire District Council, which is also involved in the partnership and expected to initially save the same sum, also agreed to look again its contract with Capita in December. The company provides HR, IT and finances services to all five councils involved.

The value of Capita’s shares plummeted by 47.5 per cent at the end of January after it issued a surprise profit warning. The company is the market leader for outsourced services and has won nearly 300 public sector contracts in the last three years.

In December, the local authorities also agreed to axe its relationship with another outsourcing company, VINCI, which is still providing the councils with facilities management and property services.

SODC’s leader John Cotton has told the Oxford Mail the savings for each council are expected to be about £2.5m over the next seven years.

But Vale leader Matthew Barber said commenting on the contracts would be ‘inappropriate’ as negotiations are still ongoing.

The councils said they hope to conclude the negotiations and make the changes with Capita and VINCI by the end of March.

Addressing Vale’s council meeting on Wednesday, Abingdon resident Paul Mayhew-Archer asked whether there are any contingency plans in place if things go wrong with the partnership.

Mr Mayhew-Archer, a comedy writer, said: “Savings went from £9m per council to £2.5m. Still a saving but one heck of a drop. What if things go wrong again? Could this partnership cost us money?”

Later, Mr Barber said he agreed that the council had a duty to be ‘open as transparent as possible’ – and that information of the renegotiated deals will be published when suitable.

But he said it would be inappropriate now ‘for fear of damaging the council’s position’ in talks with Capita.

He said: “Of course, as members are aware, officers are still in negotiation with Capita over a variation to the existing arrangements. I would advise that members are available to have a confidential briefing.”

The other councils in the Five Counties Partnership are: Hart District Council, Havant Borough Council and Mendip District Council.