Bournemouth suspends Mouchel critic
The meltdown of outsourcer Mouchel claimed another victim after Bournemouth Council suspended chief accountant Stephen Parker, according to PublicTechnology.net.
Private Eye has also been following the story, reporting that Parker was disciplined after sending an email to councillors rasing doubts about the “value for money and deliverability” of an extension to its 10-year, £148m shared services contract. Mouchel, which already handles facilities management, technology and benefits for the council, was due to take charge of the finance and HR departments in December.
The project is already £3m over budget and the projected savings have been revised downwards by £42m, the accountant claimed.
The council is now conducting an investigation into the shared services provider, which has seen the departure of both its CEO and chairman, and their interim replacement in recent weeks. After a spreadsheet error put a dent in its trading figures, the company’s share price plummeted and debts amounting to £87m came to light. Mouchel is now selling off assets to shore up its financial position.
Even before Parker sent his critical memo, doubts were being reported about Bournemouth’s deal Mouchel. The company provides similar services to Milton Keynes and Oldham and several central government departments.
Councillor John Beesley, the cabinet member for resources at Bournemouth commented, “In light of recent announcement from Mouchel and the company’s expected financial reporting, cabinet has authorised the chief executive to prepare an assessment of any risk variations arising from Mouchel’s full year accounts or other information prior to signing the contract.”
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