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Southampton City Council's deal with Balfour Beatty 'called-in' for rethink

Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews

Cllr Stephen Barnes-Andrews

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Politics and business reporter

Labour has moved to block a £50m contract to run Southampton council’s CCTV network.

The decision by Tory council leaders to award the contract to construction giant Balfour Beatty has been “called-in” for a rethink.

Council leader, Royston Smith, will be summoned back before the council’s scrutiny committee to face more |questions next week on the proposed deal.

Labour committee chairman,|Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews, who called-in the decision just days before crunch local elections next week, said “insufficient detail” had been provided to his committee to fully discuss its merits.

The Unite union, which is backing Labour’s call-in, said the services were being “fast-tracked to sell-off” and there had been no opportunity for the case for an in-house bid to be made.

Balfour Beatty has been lined up to operate the city’s extensive 300-|camera network for up to 15 years from a new rubbish and recycling depot at Dock Gate 20 in Millbrook.

The ROMANSE “intelligent transport system” which monitors the city’s roads will also be moved from Town Quay to the new City Depot under the contract, which is due to start in October.

Cllr Smith said details about the |proposed deal had been available to opposition councillors since July and insisted: “The proposal to outsource CCTV and ROMANSE is the right one in the public interest because it will enhance and protect the system and save the taxpayer £500,000 (over the next two years).”

Council officials say the Balfour Beatty bid |provides a “more robust solution and guarantee of delivering the required savings than in-house options” also considered.

The combined service would be |operational from February next year if the contract is awarded.

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